Brand USA Reauthorization
RSAA members are the recognized experts in international inbound travel to the United States. In the past few years, our efforts have been supported by Brand USA. Brand USA has made a positive difference in the number of visitors to the United States and helping our country achieve the goal of 100 million international visitors by 2021.
However, unless Congress acts, Brand USA will cease to exist in 2015.
The growing number of visitors to the United States means an increasing number of jobs in our industry. The elimination of Brand USA will deal our industry a serious blow and harm what is now one of the fastest-growing segments of the United States economy.
Important Industry Issues
HOT ISSUE - ESTA FEES
A provision of the Immigration Reform Act (S. 744) would increase ESTA fees (for the travel authorization needed by visitors traveling to the U.S. from Visa Waiver countries) from the current $14 to $30. The additional $16 is designated to fund Department of Homeland Security (DHS) activities.
In addition, the entirety of these funds will be diverted to a Trust.
This will have a significant impact on your business and clients:
· It will create a potential backlash from visitors that will lead to a drop in inbound visitation from Visa Waiver countries;
· ESTA fees will be co-mingled with DHS funding and lose their autonomy.
Any monies collected from the current $14 per person ESTA fee should only be used for the original purpose intended - to fund THE BRAND USA.
Customize this letter to you member of the U.S. Senate to urge that the ESTA fees be used only to fund tourism promotion and development.
1. The Jolt Act (H.R. 1354) The "Jobs Originating through Launching Travel Act of 2013" is a piece of legislation with strong backing from the travel and tourism community. The legislation would:
Change the eligibility requirements for admission to the Visa Waiver Program by focusing on visa overstay rates rather than visa rejection percentage. The Act would also add Brazil, Chile, Israel and Poland to the Visa Waiver Program, enabling millions more travelers to the U.S. to travel to the U.S. visa-free.
Create a pilot program to test the feasibility of teleconferencing for the visa interview process, which could save potential visitors to the U.S. the time and expense of in-person visa meetings.
Expedite the visa issuance procedure and reduce visa wait times.
Expand the Global Entry Program to allow low-risk international travelers to avoid Customs lines and allow the agency to focus more time and attention on risky travelers.
RSAA One-Pager: The Jolt Act
Contact your Members of Congress today to urge their support of the Jolt Act (H.R 1354).
Customize this letter to send to your member of the House of Representatives and send it in today!
Customize this letter to send to your members of the U.S. Senate today!
2. Urge Your Members of Congress to Support Brand USA - Brand USA is vital to our businesses. As companies that rely on international inbound travel, Brand USA helps promote travel to the United States and helps counter the advertising campaigns conducted by other countries. Brand USA will be up for reauthorization in two years. Now is the time for the industry to stand behind Brand USA and support the promotion of travel to the United States. Key points for legislators to know:
Brand USA is not funded by taxpayers. The travel industry, as well as ESTA funds (paid by Visa Waiver visitors every two years) fund Brand USA.
International visitors to the United States were responsible for $19 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues in 2012.
One in eight U.S. jobs depend on travel and tourism.
RSAA One-Pager: Brand USA
Contact your Members of Congress and urge support of Brand USA.
Customize this letter for your member of the U.S. House of Representatives and send it in today!
Customize this letter for your members of the U.S. Senate and send it in today!
3. Urge your Members of Congress to Support Infrastructure Investments - There are several Federal initiatives (like those listed above) that would increase the number of international visitors to the United States. However, visitation growth causes problems for an already outdated and ill-funded transportation infrastructure.
More visitors means more planes, more airport congestion, and more visitors to America's iconic National Parks. Airports and parks are already straining with the current level of transportation; increasing international visitation will create more traffic delays, more travel headaches, and negatively impact the visitor experience. In this scenario, visitors might come to the U.S. once, but most likely will not travel here again.
America needs the following infrastructure improvements to provide for increasing numbers of international visitors:
NextGen air traffic control system - Satellite-based technology would increase airport capacity, reduce cancellations, and improve airline efficiency.
RSAA One-Pager: Infrastructure
Increasing airport capacity - the Federal Aviation Administration identified 14 airports in 10 metro areas that will need additional capacity by 2025.
National Parks - National Parks generate $30 billion in economic activity, yet are chronically underfunded.
Contact Your Members of Congress and urge them to provide sufficient funding for infrastructure improvements and the National Park Service.
Customize this letter for your member of Congress and send it in today!