Posts Tagged ‘tourism’


Celebrating a Strategy to Increase Travel and Tourism and Create Jobs

May 9, 2013

Ken Hyatt is the Acting Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.

2012 was a record year for travel and tourism in the United States. The industry generated $168.1 billion worth of U.S. exports, an impressive 10 percent increase over 2011, and supported 7.7 million jobs. Recognizing this sector’s potential to continue driving job growth, President Obama last year called for the creation of a National Travel and Tourism Strategy. Tomorrow marks the first anniversary of the Strategy’s release.

The Strategy, co-led by the Departments of Commerce and Interior, is a comprehensive, government-wide approach to increase travel and tourism to and within the United States. Since its introduction, more than a dozen partner agencies have coordinated to enhance tourism promotion efforts, improve the visa application and entry experiences, and collaborate with the private sector – including BrandUSA – and state and local destinations in various ways. These and other activities are aimed at attracting 100 million annual visitors by the end of 2021, a 61 percent increase over 2011.

The Strategy is already bearing fruit. Two examples I would like to highlight are:

  • Our partners at the Department of State are expanding their consular facilities and streamlining their visa processes. As a result, nine out of ten visa applicants worldwide are now interviewed within three weeks of submitting applications. In some key markets, wait times have fallen to only a few days even as the number of applications increases.
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have launched programs to reduce screening and entry processing times for domestic and international passengers alike. CBP’s Global Entry program is now available at 44 airports, while TSA’s Pre Check is present at 40.

Improvements like these have made the visitor experience better without compromising our security. While we take pride in successes like these, we recognize that more work remains to be done, especially given economic headwinds and fiscal challenges in some of the countries that send visitors to our shores.

Our nation offers domestic and international visitors a wealth of amazing tourism experiences. Those visitors, in turn, spend hundreds of billions of dollars right here in the United States and contribute to our national efforts to create jobs here at home. I invite you to review the Strategy as we celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week (May 4-12) and let us know how your community can play its part.


2012 International Travel and Tourism Shows Record Figures

February 22, 2013

This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale is the Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services in the International Trade Administration.

For some Americans, the phrase travel and tourism simply brings to mind family road-trips, Caribbean vacations, and foreign tourists at Disneyland. For me it brings to mind the successful business model of economic growth and job creation we support at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.

In January of 2012, President Obama charged the Departments of Commerce and Interior with developing and presenting to him a National Travel & Tourism Strategy. The strategy, delivered in May 2012, is the first federal government-wide travel and tourism strategy and is already bearing fruit.

Last year, the travel and tourism industry contributed nearly $1.4 trillion to the U.S. GDP and provided more than 7.5 million jobs for American workers. In 2012, the industry created $168.1 billion worth of U.S. exports, representing a 10 percent growth over last year. Over a two-year period the industry has grown nearly 25 percent. Moreover, as in years past, the travel and tourism industry is the largest service-export industry in the United States.

You may be thinking, how is the spending of an international tourist an “export?”   That such spending is an export is illustrated through the following hypothetical: A Brazilian family travels to Miami for vacation. Upon arrival, the family books several nights in a U.S. hotel. The next morning, the family shops at U.S. retail stores, buys American products, and eats three meals a day at U.S. restaurants. The family pays U.S. taxes with every purchase. The family’s visit is by all accounts a foreign investment in the U.S. economy – and, by extension, a job creator.

Numerous opportunities exist for the continued success of the U.S. travel and tourism industry. Global trends point to increased foreign travel and a growing middle class in Brazil, China, and India. The industry stands poised to achieve even greater growth.

Consider these interesting facts:

  • By 2017, the number of travelers from Brazil, China, and India –as compared to 2011− is expected to grow by 83 percent, 259 percent, and 47 percent, respectively. This represents a total of 4.4 million additional travelers from these three countries by 2017.
  • On average, each tourist that we attract from these areas will spend $4,000 during their stay in the United States.

These facts point to an increase in global tourism that we as a nation must attract and welcome. And that is exactly what we intend to do.

In fact, our strategy sets the goal of attracting over 100 million international visitors annually by 2021. These international visitors are projected to spend an estimated $250 billion per year, creating jobs and spurring economic growth in communities across the country.

Here at the International Trade Administration, we are excited about the wealth of opportunities that lie ahead for our nation’s travel and tourism industry. We have room to grow and we are excited about doing everything we can to support the industry and the millions of America jobs the industry supports.


Efforts to Make the U.S. the Number One Tourist Destination

December 4, 2012

This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

Marc Buergi is a fellow in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs, and is an International Affairs graduate student at the George Washington University.

Many of us will be traveling during the upcoming holiday season.

Visiting family, friends and discovering new places is enjoyable. So is knowing that every time we travel we are also aiding our economy: travel expenditures help support the 7.5 million Americans employed in the U.S. travel and tourism industry.

Not only is the industry benefiting from domestic travelers like ourselves, but as more and more people visit our country from abroad, international visitor spending is becoming a growing share of the industry’s success in recent years. In fact, over 66 million tourists and travelers are expected to come to the U.S. this year alone, which would represent an increase of 6 percent over last year’s figures.

The good news is that upward trend is likely to continue: travel and tourism is expected to grow by 3.6 to 4.3 percent each year for the next five years according to a new report released this week.

The biggest growth markets are Asia and South America. The number of Chinese visitors alone is expected to increase by 259 percent in the next five years, while the number of Brazilian tourists is projected to swell by 83 percent.

The new travel forecast underscores the importance of international tourism to the U.S. economy, and the exponential opportunities these favorable trends can bring. That is why the President has set out a goal to make the United States the number one tourism destination worldwide.

In May 2012, the U.S. Commerce Department and the Department of the Interior presented the National Travel and Tourism Strategy to the President which is our roadmap to accomplish this ambitious goal. The Strategy lays out concrete steps which will be taken to make the U.S. even more attractive for international visitors, for instance travel promotion campaigns in key markets, improvements in the visa waiver program, and in the security procedures at U.S. airports.

The strategy is already bearing fruit. For example, last month Taiwan was included into the U.S. visa waiver program. The citizens of that country will now be able to visit the U.S. for up to 90 days without a visa – and many Taiwanese will use that opportunity.

The International Trade Administration (ITA) is at the forefront of the government’s efforts to implement the Strategy. ITA is continuing to supply the travel and tourism industry with important data, including international arrivals to the United States, the forecast of international travel to America for more than 30 countries, and estimates of the total impact of travel and tourism on the economy, among other services.

Earlier this month, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade Kenneth Hyatt highlighted these efforts at a Washington Post Travel and Tourism Forum where he emphasized the need to consider the customer experience.

Millions of people from abroad would love to visit our county – the U.S. government is making sure that as many of them as possible actually choose the U.S. as their holiday destination.


Taiwan’s Entry to Visa Waiver Program Will Boost Travel and Tourism in United States

November 7, 2012

Francisco Sánchez serves as the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade. Follow him on Twitter @UnderSecSanchez.

We are on the brink of a new era. The United States’ commitment to Taiwan and its people have reached tremendous levels this year. As of November 1, 2012, people from Taiwan are able to visit the United States for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa. The entry of Taiwan into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program will not only tremendously support the National Travel and Tourism Strategy, but also offer more opportunities to do business with each other, which enhances our economic partnership.

The goal of President Obama’s National Travel and Tourism Strategy is to attract 100 million visitors to the United States by the end of 2021. Taiwan will help us achieve this goal. During President Ma Ying-jeou’s time in office, the United States and Taiwan have made great progress towards our mutual goal of expanded opportunity and prosperity for both our nations. Taiwan has made great strides during the past few years to enhance its border security and travel systems. These efforts led Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to nominate and then approve Taiwan for the Visa Waiver Program.

The Visa Waiver Program will make international travel easier and encourage more visitors to the United States. Some found it frustrating to apply for a visa – from the fees to the long waits for interview appointments during school holidays and summer vacations. So we wanted to facilitate this process, while still being true to our national security goals. The recent decision to grant visa waiver status to travelers from Taiwan will make it easier for local businesspeople to explore opportunities in the United States and increase people-to-people interaction, which enhances our understanding of each other’s histories and cultures.

Taiwan is the 22nd largest source of foreign travelers to the United States, with approximately 300,000 travelers coming to the United States per year.  These travelers contributed $1 billion per year on travel to the United States. The commencement of the visa waiver program for Taiwan citizens will significantly boost these figures, making this another milestone in our growing bilateral commercial relationship. We look forward to welcoming more visitors from Taiwan throughout the United States.


Promoting Travel and Tourism to Help Increase our Exports

August 29, 2012

Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale is the Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services within the International Trade Administration

I was pleased to have the opportunity last Friday to speak at the Global Access Forum for Small Businesses hosted by the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im), where I highlighted how this Administration is supporting the National Export Initiative(NEI) through travel and tourism. The NEI is the Obama Administration’s commitment to serve as a full partner with U.S. businesses to promote American-made goods and services worldwide. Among other things, the NEI focuses on improving trade advocacy and promotion efforts to increase exports.

(pictured from L to R) Mike McCartney, President and CEO, Hawaii Tourism Authority (the state's tourism agency), Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie, Assistant Secretary Nicole Lamb-Hale, and Bruce Coppa, Chief of Staff, Governor's Office. (Photo Hawaii Tourism Authority)

(pictured from L to R) Mike McCartney, President and CEO, Hawaii Tourism Authority (the state’s tourism agency), Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie, Assistant Secretary Nicole Lamb-Hale, and Bruce Coppa, Chief of Staff, Governor’s Office. (Photo Hawaii Tourism Authority)

Generating increased spending from international travelers to the U.S. is just one way we are increasing exports, and the Obama Administration has developed the National Travel and Tourism Strategy to help make progress on that front. The National Strategy delineates the United States government’s plan to increase American jobs by attracting and welcoming 100 million international visitors, who we estimate will spend $250 million annually, within 10 years. 

(Read the blog post by Acting Secretary Rebecca Blank and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar on the National Travel and Tourism Strategy for more information.)

I was pleased to share the Department of Commerce’s efforts on the National Travel and Tourism Strategy with the Global Access Forum for Small Business, an Ex-Im Bank initiative to increase the number of small businesses exporting goods and services, thereby maintaining and creating U.S. jobs. As a part of achieving these export goals, the Global Access Forum was an opportunity to encourage small businesses to make the investments that will allow them to benefit from increased tourism and spending by international visitors.

Hawaii was an ideal backdrop for this meeting, because it represents the diversity of experiences that America has to offer international visitors.

Overseas travel to Hawaii in 2011 totaled 2.3 million visitors, up 7 percent from 2010. The Hawaiian Islands were the fifth most visited U.S. destination by overseas travelers in 2011.

The efforts of Hawaiian businesses to sell their products and services to international travelers are a significant contributor to the United States’ success in international travel and tourism exports – which represents 11.3 percent of world traveler spending.

In fact, one quarter (25 percent) of all U.S. services exports come from travel and tourism receipts, and more than 1.2 million jobs in the United States are supported by international travelers.

It was my pleasure to engage the Hawaiian travel and tourism industry as we build on last year’s record $153 billion in travel and tourism exports for the U.S. and work to meet our goal of welcoming 100 million international visitors by the end of 2021 to increase American jobs.


Coming to America: International Visitors Help Keep America Moving

May 10, 2012

This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

Julie Heizer is the Acting Director for the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries within the Manufacturing and Services division of the International Trade Administration

This week we’re celebrating National Travel and Tourism Week by highlighting the impact of international visitors on our economy as well as noting how we can attract more visitors to experience our wonderland of sights and attractions.

Last year, a record 62 million international tourists visited the United States and spent a record $153 billion that went to support the economies of local communities, helping to support 1.1 million jobs in our travel and tourism industry.  The U.S. enjoys a $42.8 billion surplus in travel and tourism and has done so since 1989. While these numbers are all records for the industry, there is room to improve. Jazz Musician as part of Brand USA's "Discover this land, like never before" campaign. (Photo Brand USA)

The U.S. ranks just behind France in attracting foreign visitors, hosting 6.4% of the global share of travelers. However, in terms of visitor spending, we dominate the world market with 11.2% of global traveler spending.

According to the most recently released travel forecast (2012-2016) international visitation to the United States is expected to grow between four to five percent in the forecast period. This growth would build on the past two years of record-setting numbers and continue this upward trend.
If the forecast holds true, visitor volume would grow from 62.3 million in 2011 to reach 65.4 million in 2012 and 76.6 million by 2016. This translates into total growth of 14.4 million additional visitors in 2016 compared to 2011, growth of 23% versus the 2011 level, and a compounded annual growth rate of 4.2 percent.

In January, President Obama signed an executive order to further support travel and tourism to the United States and ultimately create jobs. The order established, among other things, a Task Force on Travel and Competitiveness that developed and delivered a National Travel and Tourism Strategy to the White House that will encourage international visitors to come to the United States.

Improving staffing in overseas embassies to process visa applications and ensuring smooth arrival processes at major airports are important steps to attracting a larger volume of travelers to the United States. However, this task is a collaborative effort between the federal government and private industry.

During International Pow Wow, the largest U.S. travel and tourism industry event, held this year in Los Angeles, Brand USA, a public-private partnership whose mission is to promote increased international travel to the United States, unveiled their marketing campaign designed to draw more visitors to the United States. The campaign showcases the diversity of experiences available in the United States in a fresh and unexpected light, inviting visitors to “Discover this land, like never before.”

Through the public-private partnership launched by Brand USA and the increased attention on travel and tourism from the U.S. government  the United States can regain its prominence as a world-class destination and in the process create and retain jobs across the country.


Travel and Tourism Gets a Presidential Boost

January 19, 2012
This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

Michael Masserman is the Director of the Office of Advisory Committees within the Manufacturing and Services division of the International Trade Administration

The new travel and tourism advisory board with Commerce Secretary John Bryson

The new travel and tourism advisory board with Commerce Secretary John Bryson

Against the backdrop of Disney World, President Obama signed an executive order that will boost tourism to the United States and ultimately create jobs. The order will create, among other things, a Task Force on Travel and Competitiveness that will develop and deliver within 90 days a National Travel and Tourism Strategy that will help encourage international visitors to come to the United States. More than 47 million international visitors have arrived to see our sights, attend conferences, take family vacations, visit natural wonders, theme parks and experience what we have to offer. Developing a national tourism strategy and streamlining the visa process for non-immigrant visas will attract more tourists and create more jobs.

Commerce Secretary Bryson this week also welcomed the 32 members (19 of whom have never before served) of the re-chartered Travel and Tourism Advisory Board. The Board serves as the principal private sector advisory committee to the Secretary of Commerce on the U.S. travel and tourism industry.

As the new Board gets situated in their new role as advisors, they will be building on the foundation laid out by previous Boards. Originally chartered in 2003, the Board has been conferring and advising the Secretary on everything from revival of the Gulf Coast Region to recommendations on energy security and travel facilitation.

Members represent companies and organizations in the travel and tourism industry from a broad range of products and services, company sizes and geographic locations. Todd Davidson, CEO of Travel Oregon will serve as Chair and Sam Gilliand, Chairman and CEO of Sabre Holdings will serve as Vice-Chair. Both are returning members to the Board and will provide leadership in the activities of the new Board that will build on work of their predecessors.

The travel and tourism industry is a crucial part of the U.S. services economy whose strength and growth is essential to the economic health of our nation. Travel and tourism is a $1.2 trillion sector of the U.S. economy or nearly three percent of Gross Domestic Product. Critical to the nation’s overall economic health, the travel and tourism industry is one of the top employers for more than half of the U.S. states and territories.

The U.S. travel and tourism industry is on pace for a record-setting year. Through November 2011, international visitors spent an estimated $139.4 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services year to date, an increase of 13 percent compared to the same period in 2010. The United States recorded a $38.4 billion trade surplus for travel and tourism through November 2011.

There is no denying that the health of the travel and tourism industry impacts millions of Americans nation-wide and the council of these 32 advisors will play a significant role in ensuring that Brazilian, Chinese, and Indian travelers come see America!