Thanks to the “Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act,” the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau can continue efforts to attract international travelers to the city.
The bipartisan bill, introduced by U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives July 22. It reauthorizes Brand USA, a public-private partnership that enhances tourism by promoting international travel to the United States.
“We appreciate Sen. Blunt’s support of Brand USA,” said Laura Whisler, marketing director for the CVB. “We’re spending about $15,000 to target international travelers but getting a value of about $80,000. Without Brand USA, it’s unlikely Springfield would be able to market to international travelers.”
Through Brand USA, Springfield is included in a video featuring a host from the United Kingdom and a travel article translated into nearly 10 languages for use on the CVB, Missouri Division of Tourism and Brand USA websites. A Springfield section with a travel article, photos, links to the CVB website and representation on the “National Trip Tuner” also are included on the Brand USA website. The city also was included in a six-week multi-channel campaign in Canada featuring print, email and digital banner ads. To see an example of some of Springfield’s Brand USA online campaign elements, visit DiscoverAmerica.com.
“Travel and tourism are important to economic growth and private sector job creation in Missouri and nationwide,” said Blunt. “I’m pleased my colleagues on the Senate Commerce Committee support this common-sense, bipartisan bill to enhance and modernize Brand USA so we can continue to promote international travel to the U.S. and bring revenue and jobs to communities across the nation – without costing taxpayers a dime.”
In 2013, Brand USA generated 1.1 million additional international visitors to the U.S. who spent an estimated $3.4 billion, strengthening local businesses and stimulating economic growth. Blunt and Klobuchar’s bill has 30 additional co-sponsors in the Senate, and according to the Congressional Budget Office would reduce the deficit by $231 million over 10 years.
“International tourism to the United States helps drive billions in sales every year, powering economic growth in local communities in Minnesota and across the country,” said Klobuchar. “Brand USA is a proven partnership that helps the U.S. compete globally by boosting tourism to the United States, and I’ll keep pressing to extend this program until we get it done.”
Blunt and Klobuchar introduced the bipartisan Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act to reauthorize Brand USA through 2020. Brand USA is funded by international visitors and private contributions – not U.S. taxpayers. Half of its budget comes from the private sector through cash and in-kind contributions. The rest of the budget – up to a maximum of $100 million – is funded by a nominal fee assessed on visa-free international visitors screened by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). Brand USA can only collect up to $100 million from ESTA fees paid by foreign travelers visiting the U.S., and amounts collected in excess of the cap are returned to the U.S. Treasury to help reduce the deficit.