If a U.S. president’s annual budget is a statement of priorities, a world traveler contemplating a trip to America might consider going somewhere else.
The Trump administration’s budget proposal released this week seeks to eliminate Brand USA, a federal tourism marketing arm organized under the Commerce Department.
Congress created Brand USA with the 2010 Travel Promotion Act, aiming to spur international travel to America and to help communicate visa and entry policies. Anti-terrorism laws enacted after the 9/11 attacks had left the U.S. share of international tourism in tatters compared with other nations. Congress, President Barack Obama, and the $250 billion American tourism industry were eager to reverse the trend.
Brand USA argues that it earns its keep. Every $1 in marketing it spent in fiscal year 2015 returned $21.20 in visitor spending, according to Tourism Economics Inc., a travel industry consulting group.
Brand USA, a public-private partnership, contends that its efforts also brought in 1.2 million additional travelers last