By Rosie Spinks
July 30, 2019
Brand USA’s path to reauthorization is looking a bit brighter, as the Senate committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation passed the Brand USA Extension Act last week. A full Senate vote comes next.
The proposed bill will reinstate funding for the country’s destination marketing organization through 2027, which was previously axed (somewhat unwittingly) by a budget cap deal reached by congress in February 2018.
The previously $14 Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) fee — paid by travelers arriving from visa waiver program countries — will be raised to $21. The new allocation structure will be $4 to Customs and Border Protection (CBP); $7 to Brand USA, which will max out at $100 million; and $10 to the general fund, allowing the aforementioned budget cap deal to remain unchanged. The fee’s new allocation structure means Brand USA’s share will be $3 less than it was before; CBP’s remains the same.