The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), the sole national association representing all segments of the 1.8 million-employee lodging industry, calls on the U.S. House of Representatives to pass The Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act (H.R. 3340), co-sponsored by Congressmen Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Peter Welch (D-VT). The legislation, which currently has 100 bipartisan cosponsors, would extend The Travel Promotion Act of 2009 until FY 2020 and reauthorize Brand USA.
"Congressmen Bilirakis and Welch have introduced an important bill that allows this country to build on BrandUSA's momentum and protect the travel and tourism industry's role as an economic driver and job creator," said Katherine Lugar, AH&LA president/CEO. "Most other countries have an official promotional program to attract and welcome international tourists, so America would be at a competitive disadvantage if we fail to continue the great work of BrandUSA. This bill is a win-win for everyone and we urge Congress to act swiftly to help us maintain our competitive edge and allow millions of others to experience the best that the U.S. has to offer."
Congressmen Bilirakis and Welch briefed members of the hotel industry today on the significant impact of BrandUSA, the public-private partnership created in 2010 to help attract millions of new international visitors and promote the United States as a premier travel destination. On average, each international visitor spends $4,500, benefitting not just hotels, but restaurants, retail stores, and other businesses in the community, spurring the economy as a whole.
"America, and Florida in particular, heavily rely on tourism and travel," said Congressman Bilirakis. "Through BrandUSA and international tourism, we can welcome travelers to our country and Florida with open arms and thriving businesses. BrandUSA's efforts were responsible for bringing over 1 million visitors to America last year who were a boon to our recovering economy. BrandUSA spends less per visitor than most competitor nations, making its return on investment not only worthwhile, but just plain, good economic sense."
"BrandUSA is making a tremendous contribution to U.S. tourism," according to Congressman Welch. "This program works with the private sector to attract visitors to Vermont and attractions across the country. It's a no-brainer to continue this partnership that is clearly having a positive economic impact."
Last year alone, BrandUSA generated 1.1 million incremental international visitors, $3.4 billion in direct spending, and $1 billion in total sales tax revenue, and created or supported 53,000 jobs. The program operates without the investment of a single dollar in taxpayer funds.
Serving the hospitality industry for more than a century, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) is the sole national association representing all segments of the 1.8 million-employee U.S. lodging industry, including hotel owners, REITs, chains, franchisees, management companies, independent properties, state hotel associations, and industry suppliers. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AH&LA provides focused advocacy, communications support, and educational resources for an industry generating $155.5 billion in annual sales from 4.9 million guestrooms.
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