300 Travel Industry Leaders Urge Trump to Save Brand USA

In a move that could have serious implications for meeting planners, President Donald Trump has proposed eliminating funding for Brand USA. To rally around the agency, the U.S. Travel Association (USTA) sent a letter, signed by more than 300 travel business associations and destination marketing organizations imploring Trump to reconsider cutting Brand USA’s funding.

“The value Brand USA adds is simply phenomenal, [and] it’s all done without a dime of taxpayer money,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association.

Brand USA, which is responsible for marketing the United States to tourists around the globe, receives funding from Electronic System for Travel Authorization (BETA) fees paid by visitors from Visa Waiver Programs. Brand USA gets $10 from each $14 received in BETA fees. Brand USA estimates that for every $1 it spends on marketing, it generates $27 for the U.S. economy.

An independent analysis of Brand USA’s return on investment found its marketing program generates:

More than 4 million incremental additional visitors to the United States who might not have visited otherwise
Nearly $14 billion in incremental additional visitor spending
Nearly 51,000 additional American jobs per year
Nearly $4 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue, helping to fund vital services such as fire departments and public schools

“Millions of visitors who would not have come here otherwise have visited the U.S. because of Brand USA’s marketing campaigns, and they’ve added billions to the U.S. economy and supported tens of thousands of additional U.S. jobs per year,” Dow said. “Now more than ever, Brand USA’s efforts are needed to show the world that America is, and always will be, a welcoming destination with so much to offer international visitors.”