A Way Forward for U.S. Travel and Tourism
Less than 6 months after the World Travel and Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Global Travel & Tourism Summit held in Washington DC where great debate was had on the need to open minds to the potential of the Travel and Tourism indU.S.try and its shifting geographical landscape, WTTC and its U.S. Members are determined to call on U.S. Government to recognize the state of the indU.S.try.
Over the past 15 years the U.S. national economy has lost an average of U.S.$20 billion a year due to the declining statU.S.. According to Travel IndU.S.try Association of America calculations, an investment in growth could generate an estimated 8.1 million extra foreign visitors, representing an additional U.S.$13.4 billion contribution to GDP and 153,000 more jobs for every one per cent of world market share regained.
While WTTC was glad to see the support of four U.S. Cabinet Secretaries and one Special Ambassador at the Summit in Washington DC in April at the Summit in Washington DC in April and felt that this was a very positive step in the right direction, WTTC President Jean-Claude Baumgarten asserted that; “The next step needs to be taken in order to firmly cement public and private sector cooperation in a bid to reverse the current trend in the U.S. to lose world market share.”
WTTC Chairman Vincent A Wolfington added, “WTTC, along with the Travel BU.S.iness Roundtable and Tourism IndU.S.try Association of America endorse the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board’s National Strategy recommendations for Department of Commerce Secretary Gutierrez. However, we stand together in saying that the document and its vital recommendations mU.S.t be adequately funded otherwise the U.S. risks continually falling behind its global competitors. An investment in the Travel & Tourism indU.S.try now is an investment in not only the economic future of the U.S. but also the social cohesion and security, which contributes to world peace.”
WTTC’s Manifesto for the U.S. Travel & Tourism IndU.S.try outlines the following five recommendations:
–The economic and social importance of Travel & Tourism needs to be recognized at the highest levels of government. Those countries around the world whose governments have committed to stimulating Travel & Tourism development through constructive dialogue and marketing activity with the private sector are the ones that have been most successful in terms of growth in both arrivals and visitor spending.
–The White HoU.S.e Conference on Travel & Tourism, which was held more than ten years ago, and the creation in 2005 of the U.S. Travel & Tourism Advisory Board (TTAB), operated through the U.S. Department of Commerce, were timid steps in the right direction. Yet resolutions made at the conference have not been implemented and the TTAB has not been empowered to take any actions. Some progress has been made as a result of the Board’s recommendations to the BU.S.h Administration. Restoring America’s Travel Brand: A National Strategy to Compete for International Visitors addresses the barriers that impede international visitors from taking a trip to the U.S.A. The TTAB should be provided with the necessary resources and co-operation from the federal government to assist in achieving the goals laid out in this strategy.
–In order to mobilize all the players and give substance to the Rice-Chertoff initiative, we propose that U.S. stakeholders from both government – federal and state – and the private sector meet at a nationwide conference around the theme Reconquer Markets, Regain Confidence. The main aim of this conference should be to develop a three-year agenda with clearly defined objectives geared towards regaining the statU.S. of the U.S.A as the most important Travel & Tourism destination in the world.
–Security is a major challenge for the Travel & Tourism indU.S.try, yet seamless access to transport is critical for the future growth of the indU.S.try. Five years after 9/11, the traveller has accepted the need for enhanced security measures. The U.S. Government mU.S.t focU.S. and finish its plans to introduce new security measures based on biometric technology. This will not only boost public confidence but will also provide a positive image of the U.S.A, thanks to the technology engaged for the benefit of both visitors and resident citizens. Leaders of the security indU.S.try will play an important role in the proposed nationwide conference.
–Since the U.S. Government has fully recognized the potential of Travel & Tourism and is working towards finding the delicate balance between security at borders and efficient travel across those borders, it is time to embrace a national marketing strategy. That strategy should mandate a significant national promotional budget directed towards those markets that represent the greatest potential for the destination. WTTC estimates that U.S.$200 million would be a realistic starting point from which a marketing campaign could make a significant impact.