May 10, 2012
President Obama Makes Travel and Tourism a National Priority with
Release of First Industry Strategic Plan Today
Announcement is made as president visits Seattle area this afternoon
SEATTLE – President Obama released today the nation’s first National Travel and Tourism Strategy, following through on the executive order he signed in January. The release constitutes a major victory for travel and tourism industry professionals across the U.S. and here in Seattle as they gather to celebrate National Travel & Tourism Week.
The administration's action recognizes travel and tourism as making a critical contribution to our economy and provides the industry with an opportunity to establish travel and tourism as fundamental to America's prosperity.
Since job recovery began, travel and tourism has created more than 260,000 new jobs, far outpacing job growth in the rest of the economy. A study released in 2011 by the McKinsey Global Institute projects the leisure and hospitality sector could add between 2.1 million and 3.3 million new jobs in this decade.
The new strategy outlined today commits the U.S. government to address numerous issues that can help improve travel to and within the United States and increase American jobs in the process. They include: expanding the government's promotional efforts to market the United States as a destination; increasing American jobs by attracting and welcoming 100 million international visitors annually by the end of 2021, more than a 50 percent increase over the number expected this year; and enabling and enhancing greater facilitation of travel to and within the U.S., which includes taking action to expand the Visa Waiver Program, improving visa processing, expanding the trusted traveler program and improving screening processes at airports, and using grants to improve transportation infrastructure.
“We’re excited to see that the National Strategy has an expanded role for travel and tourism within the federal government,” said Tom Norwalk, SCVB President & CEO and an Executive Committee Member of the U.S. Travel Association. “These actions and others will improve our industry’s position as the world’s number-one travel destination.”
While Seattle and Washington State continue to be popular destinations for overseas travelers, the national strategy is seen as critical to growing tourism in primary overseas markets such as Japan, the UK, Germany, France, China, Mexico, South Korea and Canada.
Over the past decade, the U.S. economy has missed an unprecedented global travel boom because of visa delays and other bureaucratic policies that discourage visitors to our shores, according to the U.S. Travel Association. Between 2000 and 2010, America's share as a destination of the long-haul travel market slipped to 12% from 17%. That adds up to a lost decade for American travel with 467,000 lost jobs, $606 billion in lost spending by visitors, and $37 billion in lost tax revenue.
The president’s strategy suggests a newfound appreciation for several key points:
- Every 33 overseas visitors to the United States supports one American job that cannot be outsourced.
- The travel experience is littered with hassles that can be eliminated. Improving the air travel experience, for example, can add $85 billion in air traveler spending, which will support 900,000 jobs.
- Making it easier for people to attend business meetings, tradeshows and conventions boosts our economy by $263 billion annually and supports 1.7 million American jobs.
- The travel industry provides jobs for 14.4 million Americans and generates $124 billion in tax revenues nationally and for states and local communities. Travel can drive the economic recovery and put millions of Americans back to work.
Today’s announcement follows the unveiling last month, the nation’s first-ever comprehensive marketing campaign by Brand USA, the new tourism marketing entity responsible for promoting the United States to world visitors. The $150 million integrated marketing campaign features a mix of television spots as well as digital, billboard and print ads along with a robust online presence and social media strategy to reach potential visitors from key overseas markets. The campaign is expected to boost U.S. tourism market share and help regional destination marketing programs.
About Seattle’s Convention and Visitors Bureau
Seattle’s Convention and Visitors Bureau, a private, nonprofit marketing organization, has served as Seattle/King County’s official destination marketing organization (DMO) for more than 50 years. The goal of these marketing efforts is to stimulate economic development through tourism throughout the region.