Bilirakis Leads Bipartisan Effort to Extend Job Creating Program
Washington, DC: An estimated 65.5 million tourists came to Florida during the first six months of the year, which is a 5.9% increase in the number who visited during the same time period last year. These visitors, and the tourism industry are vital to our state’s economy, generating over 1.4 million jobs. It is important to note that 7.5 million of these visitors came from outside the United States. As co-Chair of the bi-partisan Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus and as a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the tourism industry, Congressman Bilirakis has been in a unique position to help contribute to the increase in travel and tourism that the sunshine state has enjoyed in recent years. One key initiative he spearheaded was sponsorship of the Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act, which was signed into law in December of 2014. This bipartisan legislation reauthorized Brand USA, a private-public partnership that serves to promote the United States globally and increase the number of international visitors to the United States without utilizing a cent of taxpayer money. Now is the time to begin planning for this important program’s long-term sustainability. Bilirakis is currently working across the aisle on legislative efforts to extend this highly successful program beyond its current sunset date of 2020. Today, he authored a joint letter signed by 70 Members of Congress regarding the importance of achieving this critical objective.
“I am happy to have such widespread, bi-partisan support on an issue that is of such importance to our state. This is a commonsense issue that will help ensure our state’s economy continues to grow. All Floridians benefit from tourism and the dollars these visitors spend in our communities,” said Bilirakis.