President Trump has released his budget proposal for spending in 2018, and one vital item for travel and tourism was noticeably absent: funding for Brand USA. The organization, which was created under the Obama Administration, has been tasked with promoting the United States as a welcoming destination for international visitors, and it’s been helping inspire more people to board planes bound for the U.S. In fact, over the past four years, Brand USA has helped welcome 4.3 million incremental visitors to the U.S. and create $29 billion worth of total economic impact.
“With all that’s going on in the world, unilaterally disarming the marketing of the U.S. as a travel destination would be to surrender market share at the worst possible time,” Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, said in a statement on the proposal. “With international visitation being the country’s No. 2 export supporting 15 million American jobs, we’re struggling to understand how cutting Brand USA squares with this administration’s priorities.”
Eliminating the funding would also create serious problems for priorities of U.S.-based event organizers. As more organizations work to welcome international attendees at their conferences and meetings, Brand USA’s marketing efforts are critical for cementing the country’s reputation as a hub of innovation and education.
“Brand USA has played an instrumental role in helping many of our destination partners across the country welcome more guests to their cities and states, and plenty of those guests are coming to share knowledge and create new connections at conferences organized by members of the PCMA community,” Deborah Sexton, president and CEO of PCMA, said. “We need to make sure that Brand USA can continue to position the country as a place that facilitates cross-cultural conversations that lead to new ideas and new business opportunities.”
What can you do? Make sure that members of Congress recognize the value of Brand USA. Click here to send a letter of opposition to your representatives, and click here to send a letter to the White House.