U.S. International Travel and Tourism Advertising and
On February 20, 2003, President Bush signed the Omnibus Appropriation
Act for FY 2003 into law. Included in this appropriation was Sec.
210, which authorized the Secretary of Commerce to award grants
and make lump sum payments in support of an international advertising
and promotional campaign to encourage individuals to travel to the
United States. The Omnibus Appropriation both authorized and appropriated
$50,000,000 for this campaign.
The Act requires the Secretary to appoint the U.S. Travel and
Tourism Advisory Board, which will recommend appropriate coordinated
activities to the Secretary for funding. The Board will comprise
CEO’s of tourism-related entities. The Secretary will consult
with the Board as well as State and regional tourism officials on
the disbursement of funds.
As currently conceptualized, the appropriated funds will be divided
between an international umbrella marketing campaign and a grant
program which will be coordinated with the umbrella campaign. A
multi-year advertising and promotional campaign, leveraged with
additional, matching funding from travel and tourism businesses
and organizations, will ensure maximum impact.
The umbrella campaign would seek to leverage the Federal dollars
and would focus upon four to six of the top markets for travel to
the United States. The campaign ingredients and content would be
designed in conjunction with the Board, to include market and evaluation
research, consumer and trade advertising, and promotion focusing
on earned media. This would include discussions with international
tour operators, and ITA’s commercial service officers and
Visit USA committees within each market.
In order to leverage funding and optimize participation in the
grant program, priority will be given to regional tourism organizations,
whose membership represents diverse travel and tourism entities,
including state tourism offices, local convention and visitor bureaus
and the private sector. However, geographically disparate states
may also be eligible for grants.
The grants would be administrated in such a way as to complement
the umbrella marketing campaign and seek to leverage the federal
dollars with cash contributions from states and the private sector.
Some in-kind contributions may also be considered. By way of example,
the Department of Commerce currently offers the Market Development
Cooperator Program (MDCP), which is a matching grant program administered
through the International Trade Administration. The MDCP program
requires a 2-1 leverage of private sector to federal dollars, designed
to support export expansion. While we do not plan on funding any
current MDCP programs with monies appropriated under Sec. 210, it
does provide a model to deliver the funds.
Research will be a key component to evaluate the impact of the campaign.
The research scope would include a benchmark survey of targeted
countries, testing of the campaign concept and content, and consumer
sentiment survey after the campaign to measure increased awareness
and bookings, estimate increases in travelers and expenditures,
and the return on investment.