Since 1961, the US has had a national tourism policy with the aim of promoting increased and effective investment in international tourism by state and local government and tourism marketing programs. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan signed the National Tourism Policy Act that developed international travel to the United States to improve the economy. More recently, Congress passed the Travel Promotion Act which led to what today is known as Brand USA.
Brand USA is a public-private partnership that serves as the first destination marketing organization that geared toward marketing the United States to the country's northern neighbor and the international travel market.
Brand USA's activities are funded by voluntary contributions from the private sector and a nominal fee imposed on foreign visitors. Despite being the body responsible for promoting international tourism to the US, its board of directors is composed mainly of representatives of private companies such as Marriott, Disney and Star Alliance.
During the 2013 fiscal (October 2012 to September 2013), Brand USA invested in promoting tourism to America in Canada, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, UK, Germany, Brazil and Australia and achieved an increase of 1.1 million international visitors.
This represents a 2.3% increase over projected growth with no marketing initiatives and those additional visitors generated an economic impact of $7.4 billion USD, creating approximately 53,000 new jobs.
The success of Brand USA has been credited to an innovative scheme that involved several local destinations along with private companies. For example, when they were promoting American wines, restaurants and vineyards in Napa and other cities in California, Oregon and Arizona, negotiations undertaken to also include airlines that offer service to the destinations.
Brand USA did the media plan, defining who would responsible for promoting and developing creativity. The goal has now been raised for the next three to four years which major budget increases in the campaign hoping to achieve even greater strength in the foreign travel market. Time will tell the ultimate reach of the strategy.
By the way, visit discoveramerica.mx.
Jorge Chavez is Senior Editor at Mijo! Brands of Mexico.