The American Bus Association (ABA) – the industry leader advancing North American motorcoach and group travel – released the following statement on President Donald Trump’s proposal to eliminate Brand USA, the designated marketing organization for the United States, in his FY 2018 budget proposal:
"We find the Administration’s decision to discontinue funding of Brand USA to be short-sighted," said ABA President & CEO Peter Pantuso. "This proposal, coupled with executive order 13780 sets a dangerous precedent for the travel and tour industry in the United States, especially at a time when the growth of international tourism to the U.S. has slowed. As the second largest export in the United States and the employer to more than 15 million Americans, the international tourism industry is key to President Trump’s number one priority – economic growth.
"Brand USA is also one of the most successful public-private partnerships out there, helping to leverage hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment for billions of tourism dollars in return. A cut to Brand USA’s budget especially affects the group travel and tour portion of the industry as many international travelers come in the form of group to see theater, the vast U.S. national parks, Niagara Falls, Florida’s attractions and so much more. Group travelers utilize multiple modes of the transportation industry including buses, trains and planes – supporting millions of jobs across our nation.
"In addition, if the U.S. decides to stop marketing itself through the small investment in Brand USA, we will lose a significant amount of international travel revenue to numerous other countries around the world who are proud to market their countries and do so aggressively to attract visitors' dollars. Instead of showing the world the United States is open for business, the Administration is cutting one of the few programs actively encouraging travelers visit to our shores. The ABA calls on the Administration to change course and support the travel industry, one of the largest sectors of the U.S. economy, by continuing to fund Brand USA."