As global tourism continues to grow, hitting 1.5 billion international tourists in 2019, the marketing firm Brand USA has been charged with drawing in more of those tourists to "the most aspirational destination in the world," CEO Chris Thompson told Cheddar Wednesday.

Last month, Congress renewed its public-private partnership with Brand USA as part of the federal spending bill, ensuring the company will be able to continue its work with the government through the fiscal year 2027.

"Our partnership with the federal government is to grow travel as an export," Thompson said.

The company has partnerships at the local and state level to help market the U.S. as a major travel destination and works with brands "that deliver experiences," like hotel chains, amusement parks, and car rental services.

While political infighting often makes headlines at home, Thompson says these types of issues do not tend to affect tourism numbers.

"The amazing thing about travel and tourism is it really transcends politics," he said. "There are things that might be affecting anyone's opinion of the U.S. at any moment," but he said, visitors from around the world still flock to visit.

The World Tourism Organization reported this week that the U.S. led the world last year in absolute growth of tourism spending with help from the strength of the U.S. dollar.

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