East Hawaii News

House Passes Bill Boosting International Tourism to US

July 23, 2014, 5:56 PM HST
* Updated July 23, 5:57 PM
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A bill that would extend Brand USA, a private-public partnership designed to boost international tourism, was passed today by the US House of Representatives.

The bipartisan Travel Promotion, Enhancement and Modernization Act of 2014 would extend Brand USA by five years and add several accountability and transparency measures, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said today.

The program, originally authorized by the Travel Promotion Act of 2009, is funded by fees paid by international visitors and matching contributions from the private sector.

In the last fiscal year, Brand USA’s marketing efforts generated one million incremental visitors, which resulted in $7.4 billion in total sales and supported more than 53,000 new US jobs, according to a press release from Gabbard’s office.

“Tourism is the most powerful driver of our local economy in Hawaii, as we welcome visitors from countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and around the world,” Gabbard said.

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“We need this commonsense legislation because if Congress supports tourism, we create jobs, grow our economy, and increase opportunity in our communities across the country,” she said. “In Hawaii, we are uniquely positioned to take full advantage of the Brand USA reauthorization, and the public-private dollars that will be spent to promote the US abroad.”

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Both Gabbard and fellow Hawaii Rep. Colleen Hanabusa are co-sponsors of the measure, which was introduced by Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.).

The bill, approved by the House on a 347-57 vote, now goes to the Senate.

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