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Senators Blunt, Klobuchar Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Promote International Travel To U.S., Boost American Jobs

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NEWS RELEASE FROM THE OFFICE OF U.S. SENATOR ROY BLUNT (MO.)

Senators Blunt, Klobuchar Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Promote International Travel To U.S., Boost American Jobs: Legislation Would Reauthorize Public-Private Partnership ‘Brand USA’ Through 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), and 23 other Senators introduced bipartisan legislation today to help boost international tourism to the United States.

The “Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act” would reauthorize Brand USA, a public-private partnership that promotes international travel to the United States, through 2020. In FY2013, Brand USA generated 1.1 million additional international visitors who spent an estimated $32 million, strengthening local businesses and boosting economic growth.

“Travel and tourism are critical industries for economic growth and private sector job creation in Missouri and nationwide,” Blunt said. “This common-sense bipartisan bill will enhance and modernize Brand USA so it can continue to promote increased international travel to the U.S. and bring revenue and jobs to communities across the nation.”

“From hotels and diners to recreation and shopping, tourism gives a huge boost to businesses and local economies in communities all across the country,” Klobuchar said. “More international visitors to the United States means new customers for our businesses, more jobs for our workers, and stronger growth for our economy. This bipartisan legislation will help ensure that Brand USA can continue to attract visitors from around the world who will help support businesses and communities all across the United States.”

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.

The Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), John Boozman (Ark.), Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), Susan Collins (Maine), Dick Durbin (Ill.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Dean Heller (Nev.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), John Hoeven (N.D.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Barbara Mikulski (Md.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Harry Reid (Nev.), Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), David Vitter (La.), Mark Warner (Va.), and Roger Wicker (Miss.).

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