Skift Take

Brand USA, the country's official tourism marketing arm, could go under if Congress doesn't act to secure its funding. The recent decline in international visitors to the U.S. would only get worse if marketing support is eliminated.

Whether you are a home-based travel advisor or you work in a large office servicing high-profile accounts, the Travel Advisor Innovation Report will have you covered with the trends, news, and features you’ll need to stay on top of an ever-changing marketplace.

During a time when U.S. inbound travel is already losing its international market share, Brand USA, the country’s public-private tourism marketing arm, is facing an uncertain future. Although bipartisan efforts are under way in Congress to reauthorize funding for Brand USA, the Trump administration has proposed eliminating its budget.

Saving Brand USA is a top priority for the U.S. Travel Association and the Visit U.S. Coalition. Citing data about its effectiveness, they argue that the marketing body, created in 2009, is needed now more than ever, given the administration’s anti-immigration rhetoric and stricter visa policies. Exacerbating the situation is the fact that state marketing budgets are also in peril.

In general the U.S. has lagged behind other nations in marketing tourism to international visitors on the federal level. Another story below looks at efforts by Tourism Australia, which has been actively promoting inbound travel for decades, to strengthen interest in its aboriginal sites and culture.

Other countries have long figured out that it pays to roll out the welcome mat to global visitors. The United States needs to do the same.

For more coverage of pertinent issues, click here.

Any suggestions for the coverage you would like to see are welcome. Feel free to contact me at [email protected].

— Maria Lenhart, Travel Advisor Editor

Featured Stories

Travel Advisors Promote Aboriginal Tourism in Australia: For travel advisors looking for alternatives to overcrowded traditional destinations, Australia’s unique aboriginal experiences could fit right in. The country’s indigenous culture is now being strongly promoted through the efforts of Tourism Australia, state tourism promoters, and savvy local operators.

Brand USA Fights for Its Future as U.S. Inbound Travel Weakens Under Trump: Brand USA is confident about securing future funding due to bipartisan support for the program. The reality, however, is that the program faces an administration not focused on welcoming visitors.

The Most Amazing Airline Failures of the Past 15 Years: The airline industry is a tough business. Dozens of carriers have gone belly-up since Skift Airline Weekly began publishing in 2004. We picked 10 of the most interesting bankruptcy and grounding stories in the last 15 years.


TWA Hotel Looks to Stabilize After Rocky Takeoff: The mixed reviews of the TWA hotel on social media are not uncommon for a property that — let’s face it — opened too early. What will keep customers coming, however, is the chance to experience a nostalgic hotel design that will hit home with travelers.

Marriott Exec: We Want to Be Involved in Travel Beyond 4 Walls of a Hotel: Marriott’s strategy for becoming part of a customer’s entire travel journey, from booking to checkout, is tied heavily to its Bonvoy loyalty program. The more kinds of products the company offers, the more likely it will get what it wants.

Taco Bell is Pretty Serious That Its Pop-Up Hotel Won’t Be Its Last: Every non-hotel brand thinks it is a hospitality company. However, as popular and successful a run as Taco Bell has enjoyed in recent years, it does not have the level of expertise to run a hotel over the long haul on its own.


Carnival’s Expanding Data-Fueled Ocean Medallion to More Ships: Carnival has been talking about the Ocean Medallion for a while now. Expect the technology to be deployed on more ships soon, with new improvements to guest experience in the process.


UK’s Tourism Sector Gets Government Backing as Brexit Looms: The UK government’s announcement is a big win for the travel industry — especially at a time when the ever-present uncertainty of Brexit is top of the industry’s mind.

Airbnb’s Around-the-World Trip Promotion Gets Off to a Rocky Start: This promotional tour from Airbnb to tout Airbnb Adventures clearly backfired because of traveler outrage and difficulties in booking and paying for the one-time trip. It’s not an opportune start for Airbnb’s tour initiative, which may be a tad more complex than Airbnb anticipates.

China’s Tencent Partners With Helsinki to Help Chinese Travelers Live Like Locals: Chinese travelers are the world’s largest outbound travel market. With the launch of Helsinki’s WeChat collaboration, it seems the days of asking them to pay cash in a destination are numbered.

Skift Travel Advisor Editor Maria Lenhart [[email protected]] curates the Skift Travel Advisor Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Tuesday. Have a story idea? Or a juicy news tip? Want to share a memo? Send her an email.


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Tags: travel advisor innovation report, travel agents

Photo credit: In this file photo, a man tries to hug a tree in Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park. Brand USA faces a funding crisis if Congress doesn't renew its mandate. 147126 / 147126

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