Congress could be headed toward a rare moment of agreement. And it’s on an issue that has a profound impact on restaurants: travel and tourism.
With the House of Representatives’ overwhelming passage of the Travel Promotion, Enhancement and Modernization Act on Tuesday and the Senate Commerce Committee’s approval of the bill on Wednesday, Congress took a major step toward reauthorizing Brand USA, a global marketing program to promote the United States as an international tourist destination. The program, which the legislation would reauthorize, is funded through a fee paid by international visitors.
The National Restaurant Association supports the reauthorization of Brand USA and sent letters urging members of the House and Senate to vote for the bill.
“The restaurant industry relies on travel and tourism and the success of our member companies is closely tied to the promotion of Brand USA around the world,” said Scott DeFife, NRA vice president, policy and government affairs. “We urge the swift passage of the Travel Promotion Act in the Senate as Brand USA must continue its critical work in promoting the U.S. abroad and attracting international travelers to our shores.”
Tell the Senate to support America's restaurants and renew Brand USA!
Passage of the bill would be a big win for restaurants. About $1 of every $4 spent in restaurants comes as a result of travel and tourism, and international travel is a big part of the picture. The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that international travelers spent $15.4 billion on travel to and tourism activities within the U.S. in March 2014. According to the U.S. Travel Association, overseas visitors spent an average of $4,455 over 18 days during visits to the U.S. in 2012. The same year, the U.S. was the destination for 66.6 million international travelers—37 million from Canada and Mexico and 29.6 million from overseas. The number of overseas travelers increased by 7.7 percent in 2013 and is expected to increase by another 5.3 percent this year.