Legislation to reauthorize Brand USA -- the nation's first-ever global consumer brand -- has advanced in the House of Representatives thanks to the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, which on Friday voted unanimously in favor of the Travel Promotion, Enhancement and Authorization Act (H.R. 4450).
"The United States is a global hub for commerce and travel, and an exceptional attraction for international tourists. Tourism is an integral part of our economy -- especially in Florida. Increased tourism means more American and Floridian jobs," said Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), who introduced the House bill along with Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.). "I am proud that my colleagues have joined me in a bipartisan effort to unanimously pass H.R. 4450 through the subcommittee. The Travel Promotion, Enhancement and Modernization Act will increase Brand USA's efficiency, effectiveness and transparency. My legislation means promoting economic growth while not utilizing a dime of taxpayer dollars. It is time to get Americans across the country back to work."
In a statement
issued immediately afterwards, the hotel industry applauded Friday's vote.
"This program has provided our country with a very successful program attracting tourists from around the world, given us a competitive edge, and provided invaluable stimulus for the continued strength of our industry and the national economy," Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), said in a statement. "Today's unanimous vote demonstrates an awareness among the members of the subcommittee of the vital need for continuing this program and providing further stimulus."
Brand USA was created in 2010 by the bipartisan Travel Promotion Act, which established a public-private partnership through which to promote international visitation to the United States. Pending passage by the full House, as well as the U.S. Senate, H.R. 4450 would reauthorize the Travel Promotion Act and renew Brand USA through 2020.