Brand USA, roads on Southeast tourism agenda

Brand USA, roads on Southeast tourism agenda

By BRUCE SMITH

Associated Press

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Reauthorizing Brand USA and fixing the nation's aging highway and airport infrastructure are among top concerns of the tourism industry in the Southeast.

About 200 industry representatives met in Charleston this week for a meeting of the Southeast Tourism Society comprised of representatives from a 12-state area where tourism pumps $210 billion to the economy.

The group's president and CEO, Bill Hardman, tells The Associated Press that congressional reauthorization of Brand USA, which promotes America to foreign tourists, is important to the region.

The program does not use tax dollars, but relies on fees paid by foreign visitors and matching funds. Hardman says keeping the federal Highway Trust Fund solvent is also critical in a region where most visitors drive to tourism destinations.

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