As you probably know by now, Brand USA was created as a marketing entity to promote the United States as a travel destination for international travelers. It is the first such entity in the country’s long and proud history. The idea, of course, is to help economic growth and job creation through the important travel and tourism sector.
But to promote—as any marketing professional knows—takes money and commitment. What you might not be aware of is that Fiscal Year 2012 is a big year for the new entity when it comes to raising the capital needed to pull the job off. In FY2012, the federal government will match private sector contributions 2-to-1.
Today, Brand USA got a significant lift in its target to reach $100 million in FY2012 from three major hospitality companies—Marriott, Disney, and Best Western. Each committed $1 million in cash along with in-kind commitments. Brand USA says that these contributions, because of the 2-to-1 match, will yield $21 million in new funds for Brand USA's growing marketing budget.
The hotel and tourism industry played a big part in the creation of Brand USA and, just like many Americans, they stand to benefit greatly from its success. In many ways, increasing the number of tourists from international destinations is vital to the industry’s future success. So, it’s only natural that hospitality companies would step up to the plate to help the effort. I commend these three companies for their efforts, just as Brand USA CEO Jim Evans does.
"We are incredibly proud and grateful that these three iconic brands have chosen to invest at such a significant level in Brand USA," Evans said in a statement. "Recently President Obama called for a national travel and tourism strategy to attract more international visitors, and Brand USA is a major pillar of that. This is more than an investment in a marketing program—it is an investment in job creation and economic growth for hundreds of visitor destinations across America."
Make no mistake, these are just three of the companies who have stepped up their efforts to promote international travel to the U.S. These contributions follow dozens of financial commitments that have been received to date from other businesses, destinations, and individuals across the country.
Announcing Marriott's support of Brand USA, Chairman and CEO Bill Marriott said, "We are proud to make an investment in Brand USA because we know that the more people learn about America, the more they want to visit. And the more they travel here, the more cultural barriers between people fall and jobs are created that power this country's economic engine. I'm thrilled to see this great initiative take shape and applaud President Obama's leadership. Go Brand USA!"
"Disney has a long-standing history of supporting efforts to increase international tourism to the United States so we're honored to continue our partnership with Brand USA to bring more international visitors to our shores," added Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. "The work being done by Brand USA will not only help bolster our economy and create jobs but also make our nation the destination of choice for millions of travelers around the globe."
"America's destinations are totally unique, and we have a history of welcoming all cultures," said David Kong, president and CEO of Best Western International. "Best Western is delighted to be part of Brand USA's founding partnership to help enhance the United States' appeal as a top destination for international visitors and to amplify our nation's message of welcome to the world."
According to Brand USA, the investments will be used to fund advertising, new media marketing, in-country representation, international trade show presence, and other forms of marketing to international travelers. The funding also will be used to build sustaining programs such as sponsorship and cooperative marketing opportunities that will ensure a long-term source of revenue for Brand USA. After FY12, the private sector is required by law to fund at least 50 percent of the overall budget for the marketing entity.