Chris Thompson, Brand USA and Roger Dow, US Travel Association at IPW's press briefing in Washington DC this weekend US Travel Association fires back at Trump proposal while Brand USA remains optimistic Chris Thompson, Brand USA and Roger Dow, US Travel Association at IPW's press briefing in Washington DC this weekend US Travel Association fires back at Trump proposal while Brand USA remains optimistic

Brand USA funding cut slammed

‘Perplexing,’ is how US Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow has described the proposed elimination of the Brand USA tourism marketing agency in President Trump's federal budget document.
With the country’s major travel trade event underway in Washington DC this week and international visitation being the number two export supporting 15 million American jobs, Dow is ‘struggling to understand' how cutting Brand USA squares with the administration’s stated priorities.

‘The creation of Brand USA was a bipartisan effort led by Republicans that passed both chambers by overwhelming majorities,’ he says. ‘The agency was responsible for adding $8.9 billion to the US economy last year, according to the firm Oxford Economics—a 28-to-one return on investment. Brand USA isn't funded with a dime of taxpayer money, reduced the deficit by $50 million, and by the Office of Management and Budget's own accounting eliminating it would put the federal budget further in the red.’
Dow says unilaterally disarming the marketing of the US as a travel destination would be to surrender market share at the worst possible time. He is adamant that Brand USA is here to stay. 'Sometimes in politics mistakes happen. We will correct this mistake.'
Meanwhile, Brand USA president and CEO Chris Thompson remains 'confident our little piece of the budget will remain.'
'The ROI numbers just released show a four million incremental increase in new international visitors over the past four years, valued at US$13.6b with an economic impact of US$29.5b and nearly 51,000 more jobs,' he says.
'This change would have a direct impact on travel and tourism. In 2014 we had presidential funding approved up until 2020 but this is always in the hands of congress to approve each year.'

Kiwi numbers hold firm for 2016

When the final numbers are confirmed for 2016, Kiwi visitation to the US is expected to hold firm or even tip the 300,000 mark despite showing a 3.2% decrease in the September 2016 year-to-date statistics.
‘We had additional air capacity in the fourth quarter,’ explains Visit USA committee member Darragh Walshe. ‘Hawaii, which represents 20% of New Zealanders visiting the US, had a particularly strong final quarter and I would expect the numbers to match, if not improve on, 2015.’
The US National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) is not expected to release last year's final arrivals figures until late June-early July due to delays in US Customs and Border Protection collating data for 2016.

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