usa tourism.jpg

A Congressman Sam Farr-sponsored bill designed to strengthen the United States’ competitiveness in the global travel and tourism markets was unaimously approved by a House subcommittee this week.

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade voted unanimously to pass H.R. 4450, the Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act.  The legislation authored by Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus co-chair Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., and co-sponsored by co-chair Farr, and caucus member Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., re-authorizes Brand USA – a public-private partnership designed to encourage tourism to the United States. H.R. 4450 also enhances Brand USA by adding a number of accountability and transparency requirements.

Brand USA, which is completely funded by international visitors and private industry contributions, is the country’s first national Destination Marketing Organization and markets the United States as a premier travel destination to world. The program’s activities brought in an additional 1.1 million visitors to the United States, resulting in a $7.4 billion impact on the economy and supported the creation of over 50,000 new jobs in fiscal year 2013.

“The United States is a global hub for commerce and travel, and an exceptional attraction for international tourists. Tourism is the lifeblood of our economy. Increased tourism means more American jobs,” Bilirakis said. 

“Competing globally creates jobs locally,” said Farr, D-Carmel, who represents San Benito County in Congress. “The travel and tourism industry is our nation’s number one export, supporting one in nine jobs. Bringing in more global travelers is not only necessary to grow our national economy but it will strengthen local economies in every single community throughout the country.”

The bipartisan bill has attracted more than 137 co-sponsors in the House. Companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate by Senators Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn, and Roy Blunt, R-Mo. 

The legislation also has broad support by the travel and tourism industry. A complete list of groups that support H.R. 4450 can be found here.