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Will Seccombe
Bill to Reauthorize Brand USA Passes U.S. House of Representatives

By on July 23rd, 2014 — 11:00am

I am pleased to announce that yesterday evening the U.S. House of Representatives resoundingly voted to reauthorize Brand USA by passing H.R. 4450, the Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act of 2014.  Clearing the House is a major step toward achieving renewal of this vital travel promotion program.

“This victory would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of our travel community who engaged in a wide range of activities including hosting round table meetings and tours in local markets, lobbying on Capitol Hill, sending emails and letters, recording video testimonials and utilizing social media to urge elected federal representatives to support re-authorization of Brand USA,” said Roger Dow, President & CEO of the U.S. Travel Association.  ”We also could not have won the House vote without the leadership of Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Peter Welch (D-VT), who introduced the Brand USA re-authorization measure in April and shepherded the bill through the chamber’s process.”

“Tourism is an integral part of our economy – especially in Florida.  Increased tourism means more American and Floridian jobs.  My legislation means job growth without utilizing a dime of taxpayer dollars.  Millions of Americans across the country are still struggling, and H.R. 4450 will help them get back to work.  Brand USA re-authorization is a jobs bill,” Bilirakis declared.

“I am proud that my colleagues have joined me in a bipartisan effort to pass H.R. 4450 by an overwhelming vote of 347-57 in the House of Representatives, continuing the House’s track record of passing meaningful, impactful bills to help Americans across the country.  The Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act will increase Brand USA’s efficiency, effectiveness, transparency – it is a huge step forward for the accountability of the program,” Bilirakis continued.  “It is my hope the Senate will pass the companion bill – S. 2250 – without delay.”

To view Representative Bilirakis’ floor statement, click here.

H.R. 4450 will strengthen the United States’ competitiveness in the global travel and tourism markets by reauthorizing Brand USA – a public-private partnership designed to encourage tourism to the United States.  According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Brand USA will reduce the deficit by $231 million.

The travel and tourism sector is the top industry in Florida, employing nearly 1.1 million Floridians and generating nearly $76.1 billion in spending.  Nationally, the sector is the country’s largest service export, fueling one in every nine jobs.  International visitors add more than $180 billion annually to the U.S. economy.

The U.S. Travel Association has vowed to continue their efforts in the U.S. Senate, where they expect to see a markup of the companion bill (S. 2250), introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), this week.  They will continue to promote the proven benefits of Brand USA, outlined most recently in their report “Brand USA: Working for All of US.”

They encourage you to keep making the case by telling your Senators how the program is working for your destination or business.

  • Action Alert: Extend Brand USA
  • Share the message on your social channels.  Here are some sample tweets:
  • H.R. 4450 to extend @BrandUSA passed the House!  Thank you, House of Representatives, for overwhelming bipartisan support!
  • .@BrandUSA is working for America & our economy.  The House voted to extend this vital program.  Now on to the Senate!  http://tiny.cc/HR4450PASSED
  • .@BrandUSA creates jobs + reduces the deficit.  House voted to extend this vital program!  Urge Senate to do same: http://ow.ly/zt5OB

Brand USA works for all of us in the tourism industry and I encourage you to help ensure passage of the Senate bill by actively lending your voice to the cause.


Will Seccombe
President & CEO

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David Dodd
VISIT FLORIDA Completes Capitol Welcome Center Renovation

By on July 21st, 2014 — 3:08pm

The Capitol Welcome Center managed by VISIT FLORIDA has recently undergone a stunning renovation.  The new look and feel of the space elevates it from a Capitol information booth to a digitally-enhanced Welcome Center of the Future that invites visitors to enjoy a true Florida Experience. Read more of this post »


David Dodd
Vice President, Visitor Services

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Becca VanLandingham
Partnership for Florida’s Tourism Launches Revamped Website

By on July 18th, 2014 — 2:43pm

Today, the Partnership for Florida’s Tourism unveiled its newly revamped website TourismWorksforFlorida.org.  The site, previously known as Florida’s Tourism Counts, includes an advocacy toolkit, an upcoming news and events section with dates for delegation meetings, Florida Tourism Day and National Travel & Tourism Week, and details on how to contact elected officials and track tourism-related legislation. Read more of this post »


Becca VanLandingham
Executive Operations Representative

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Cheryl Hatcher
VISIT FLORIDA Wraps Up Successful ‘Very Important Planner’ Tour

By on July 17th, 2014 — 1:17pm

During the 2013-14 fiscal year, VISIT FLORIDA traveled to six key domestic markets for Very Important Planner (VIP) events which included Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, New York City and Washington D.C.  Each of these markets have a strong base of corporate and national association planners that source Florida for meetings and conventions, and have been highly successful in marketing Florida’s diverse and immense meetings opportunities. Read more of this post »


Cheryl Hatcher
Director of Marketing & Events

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Heather Collins
VISIT FLORIDA Awards Record Number of Tourism Industry Grants

By on July 16th, 2014 — 11:37am

I am pleased to announce that VISIT FLORIDA has recently awarded $483,105 to Florida tourism industry organizations as part of our 2014-2015 grant program.  The grants are given in four program categories, including Advertising Matching Grants; Cultural, Heritage, Rural and Nature Tourism Grants; Minority Convention Grants; and Small Business Grants.  This year, VISIT FLORIDA received a record number of applications and was able to award grants to 107 deserving businesses. Read more of this post »


Heather Collins
Contracts Manager

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