S. 2203 would extend the authority of the Corporation for Travel Promotion (commonly known as Brand USA) to receive fees from the VISA Waiver Program (VWP) through 2027; under current law, that authority expires after 2020. The bill also would require Brand USA to implement a digital outreach strategy and to report on countries with emerging markets for U.S. tourism. Finally, among other provisions, S. 2203 would increase the VWF base fee from $10 to $17.
Estimated Federal Cost
The estimated budgetary effect of S. 2250 is shown in Table 1. The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 370 (commerce and housing credit).
Basis of Estimate
CBO estimates that enacting S. 2203 would increase direct spending by $665 million, increase revenues by $970 million, and decrease the federal deficit by $305 million over the 2019-2029 period.
Under current law, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) collects VWP fees from certain foreign travelers to the United States. Each year, up to $100 million in such fees must be transferred into the Travel Promotion Fund under current law. That transfer amount is made available to Brand USA for expenditure if the corporation generates non-federal matching amounts. Fee amounts received may be spent without further appropriation. In 2018, Brand USA received and spent $93 million in VWF fees. CBO estimates that under S. 2203, Brand USA would receive and spend about $95 million annually over the 2021-2027 period on travel promotion activities, or $665 million over ten years.
Certain foreign travelers to the United States are charged a VWP base fee of $10; U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) may collect that fee through 2027 under current law. In 2018, CBP collected $61 million in VWP fees. CBO expects that increasing the base fee to $17 under S. 2203 would increase revenues by $970 million over ten years.