Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus co-chair Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), along with co-chair Rep Sam Farr (D-CA) and caucus member Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), announced the introduction of H.R. 4450, the Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act. The legislation will strengthen the United States' competitiveness in the global travel and tourism markets by reauthorizing Brand USA -- a public-private partnership designed to encourage tourism to the United States. H.R. 4450 also strengthens Brand USA by adding a number of accountability and transparency requirements.
"The United States is a global hub for commerce and travel, and an exceptional attraction for international tourists," said Bilirakis. "Tourism is the lifeblood of our economy -- especially in Florida. Increased tourism means more American and Floridian jobs. The Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act helps increase Brand USA's efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency. Promotion of the United States as a global tourism destination means promoting economic growth. It is time to get Americans across the country back to work, and this legislation will contribute to that effort."
"In the past 4 years, Brand USA has marketed the United States to 8 different countries," said Farr. "Their efforts brought in 1.1 million new visitors to our country, injecting needed dollars into local economies to help boost job creation throughout the United States. Thanks to the leadership of Mr. Bilirakis, we now have a bill that will not only enhance Brand USA's mission but will demonstrate America's commitment to building an even stronger travel economy."
Nationally, the travel sector is the country's largest service export, fueling one in every eight jobs. According to an economic analysis by Oxford Economics, Brand USA's activities resulted in a $7.4 billion impact on the U.S. economy in fiscal year 2013.