(Washington, D.C., Monday, November 19, 2018) – International travel to the United States is an unsung hero of our nation’s economy, generating a trade surplus of $77 billion in 2017. Spending by international travelers directly supported 1.2 million U.S. jobs and provided $33.7 billion in wages. International visitors bolster the economies of communities and regions nationwide through staying in area hotels, eating in local restaurants, shopping in neighborhood stores and small businesses, and visiting regional attractions. However, with the U.S. dollar gaining strength during the recent key summer travel booking months, the U.S. is a more expensive place to visit and international visitation remains under pressure.

An organization called Brand USA is America’s destination marketing organization, established by an act of Congress in 2009. It helps America compete with other frequently visited places and delivers significant economic benefits to communities of all sizes nationwide – at no cost to U.S. taxpayers. It’s a public-private partnership that promotes every pocket of the country to travelers around the world, from big gateway cities to rural and lesser-known places.

Jonathan Grella, executive vice president of Public Affairs, U.S. Travel Association, explains why it’s urgent we act now.

SOUNDBITE #1:

IT IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT TO THE U.S. ECONOMY THAT OUR LEADERS IN CONGRESS REAUTHORIZE FUNDING THIS YEAR, SO THE PROGRAM CAN CONTINUE TO SUPPORT LOCAL AND SMALL BUSINESSES AND AMERICAN JOBS ACROSS THE U.S. – PARTICULARLY IN LESSER KNOWN AREAS AND ATTRACTIONS. FOSTERING TOURISM IS GOOD FOR AMERICAN COMPETITIVENESS.

SOUNDBITE #2:

THE PROGRAM HAS MANY ADVOCATES WHO APPRECIATE FIRST HAND ITS POSITIVE EFFECTS ON JOBS AND THE AMERICAN ECONOMY AND HOW MARKETING EVERY REGION OF OUR GREAT COUNTRY KEEPS US COMPETITIVE GLOBALLY. MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, BOTH REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS, AND LOCAL TOURISM REPRESENTATIVES ALIKE HAVE WITNESSED THE DIRECT IMPACT THE PROGRAM CREATES FOR COMMUNITIES ACROSS AMERICA.

For more information, please visit ustravel.org.

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