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Congressman Gus Bilirakis

Representing the 12th District of Florida

Bilirakis’ Legislation to Reauthorize Brand USA Signed Into Law

December 18, 2014
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) released the following statement following H.R. 83 being signed into law, which included H.R. 4450, the Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act, Bilirakis’ legislation to reauthorize Brand USA:

“Tourism is an integral part of our economy – especially in Florida. Increased tourism means more American and Floridian jobs. My bill means job growth without utilizing a cent of taxpayer money. In fact, it lowers the deficit. Millions of Americans across the country are still struggling, and Brand USA reauthorization is a jobs bill with a proven track record of success,” Bilirakis declared.

“I am pleased my initiative has become law. It is a big win for all Americans in the service and tourism industries, and Floridians all across the state, including the Tampa Bay area. Common sense solutions like these to boost the economy and create jobs will spur our slow economic recovery,” Bilirakis continued.                             

Congressman Welch, original cosponsor of the Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act, said of H.R. 4450’s passage: “Representative Bilirakis has been a tremendous partner in securing the reauthorization of Brand USA.  This program has made a tremendous contribution to the tourism sector of the American economy, including in Vermont and I’m very pleased that it will continue for another 5 years under the bipartisan Bilirakis-Welch legislation. At no cost to the taxpayer, the marketing initiatives of this program are boosting international visits and supporting tourism jobs in Vermont and across the country.”

Congressman Farr, who Co-Chairs the Travel and Tourism Caucus with Congressman Bilirakis, said: “Marketing our tourism industry globally creates jobs locally. Travel is our nation’s number one export, supporting one in nine jobs here in the United States. Bringing in more visitors will not only help strengthen our national economy but it will help create jobs in every single community throughout the country.”

“The renewal of Brand USA is a huge victory not only for the Greater Tampa-Clearwater area, but for Florida and the entire country,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “Congressman Bilirakis was instrumental in getting huge majorities in both the House and Senate to understand that international travel is an economic powerhouse for communities large and small in all 50 states. He and his constituents should be very proud of this achievement.”

“I sincerely thank Congressman Bilirakis for his continued support of tourism to the US.  Tourism is critical of the economy of the United States, Florida and the Tampa Bay region. One nonstop daily flight to a major European city has a $154 million economic impact on our region and creates 1,200 jobs. Brand USA is an excellent vehicle for marketing our great destination and bringing those benefits to our community,” said Joseph Lopano, CEO of Tampa International Airport.

Will Seccombe, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA, said: “VISIT FLORIDA is a proud supporter of Brand USA’s programs to increase international visitation, having been one of its original founding partners.  In 2013, one in five international visitors to the U.S. came to Florida, with the Sunshine State welcoming nearly 15 million international travelers from 186 countries who spent more than $16 billion.  Through our continued partnership with Brand USA, we look forward to building on this momentum to make Florida the No. 1 travel destination in the world.”

To view Representative Bilirakis’ recent editorial on the importance of Brand USA, click here.