Status of International
Promotion Program Funding
(as of December 12, 2003)
As you may know, the federal government has been operating
on a continuing resolution since October 1, 2003 because Congress
has not voted on the various spending packages presented for each
of the federal departments/agencies.
As has happened in the past, Congress bundled the
remaining seven departmental/agency budgets together in to an Omnibus
Budget Package for consideration as a “lump sum” to
be approved by a simple majority vote in both the House and the
On Monday, December 8th, the House voted to forward
the Conference Report to the Senate.
Part of the Omnibus budget package for FY’04
contained a rescission of $40 million of the $50 million appropriated
by Congress in February 2003 for the purposes of launching an international
promotion campaign aimed at encouraging renewed travel to the United
The Travel and Tourism Promotion Advisory Board met
on Monday, December 8, 2003. Not surprisingly, there was much discussion
about the possible rescission of 80% of this landmark program’s
The Senate is not expected to vote on the Conference
Report/Omnibus Budget Bill until they return from the holiday recess
(on or about January 20, 2004). Because Omnibus packages cannot
be opened for debate, it is likely that this will come to pass as
outlined, when the Senate returns and votes.
It is our desire to have the campaign enter the marketplace
in spring 2004. Because of the critical nature of the timeline,
we are moving ahead on the aggressive schedule we outlined to the
Advisory Board at the meeting on 12/8/03, assuming full funding
will be available.
The Request for Quotation (RFQ) that is being developed
includes a caveat stating that the RFQ will be competed subject
to the amount of available funding. The RFQ is to be released on
Friday, December 19, 2003.
The proposed timeline for the advertising and public
relations campaign is extremely tight, as indicated by the following
Bidders submit contractor capability package –
January 7, 2004
Initial down-select – January 9, 2004
Written proposals due – January 21, 2004
Evaluation, oral proposals, negotiations and clearances –
Award delivery order – February 20, 2004
Simultaneous to this effort, a potential series of
travel writer familiarization tours from each of the five key markets
may be launched.
Additionally, other staff is working to develop a
destination marketing grants program. The program’s guidelines
are being written now, and will be provided to destination marketing
organizations as soon as a theme/logo/tag line is developed and
approved for the promotion campaign.
Until such time as the Senate votes on the Conference
Report/Omnibus Budget Bill, we have no choice but to continue to
move forward as though full funding were going to be available.
In the interim, the Travel and Tourism Promotion Advisory
Board is working to develop alternate planning concepts in the event
that the rescission is affected.
The Department has turned to the Board for insight
as to what alternate plans may be considered if the Senate does
pass the Omnibus Budget Bill, which includes, among other rescissions
totaling $200 million, the 80% decrease in funding for the international
marketing promotion program.