By ABA Media
Those are the words U.S. Travel Association (USTA) President and CEO Roger Dow emphasized repeatedly at the 2017 IPW Conference in Washington, D.C., June 3-7. Despite the perception that the U.S. does not want international visitors—a perception created by the new administration’s executive order on immigration—the reality is that travel and tourism to and within the U.S. is resilient. Advocacy has never mattered more. So, what can you do to get the word out that America is “open for business” and is a welcoming destination for international and domestic travelers?
Whether you are a motorcoach operator, tour operator, or attraction, you can help promote safe, enjoyable travel in the U.S. The most effective tool for spreading the message that U.S. tourism is doing well is the voice of someone who has visited one of America’s great destinations, and then takes home what is really happening here. The reality of experiences is the best way to encourage others to visit. Baseball great Yogi Berra, when asked about having dinner at a highly regarded restaurant, replied with humorous contradiction: “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” Likewise, we want people to know that the U.S. is a busy and popular destination!
Travel Trends Index Report Shows Overall Travel Volume Grew in April
USTA’s April Travel Trends Index (TTI) shows that more international visitors came to the U.S. than expected in April 2017—defying expectations of slowed growth or outright decline in reaction to President Trump's controversial executive orders on travel and immigration, first issued Jan. 27. In fact, international travel grew by about 4 percent year-over-year in April. Domestic travel grew again also, thanks to a healthy leisure travel demand. To read the TTI report, click here.
Attracting Tourists to U.S. Destinations
From New York to Philadelphia to California, CVBs and DMOs are pulling out all the stops to attract visitors and show the world that there are new and exciting things happening in the U.S.
NYC: For ABA member NYC & Company, there are four major projects that will be unveiled in the next several years. According to President and CEO Fred Dixon, these attractions will be popular draws for visitors to NYC: Pier 17: The Seaport District in lower Manhattan; the New York Wheel and The Marketplace at Empire Outlets of Destination St George in Staten Island; the Hudson Yard Project featuring the 15-story high “Vessel” and the Observation Deck at Hudson Yards; and One Vanderbilt Skydeck in Midtown East, slated to be Manhattan’s second-tallest skyscraper.
Philadelphia: “Philadelphia is ready to welcome the world,” according to Philadelphia’s CVB President and CEO Julie Coker Graham. The new Museum of the America Revolution and the more than $540 million in projects underway at Philadelphia International Airport will attract visitors to this ABA member.
California: Visit California President and CEO Caroline Beteta took California’s message on the road with a diplomatic friendship mission to Canada and Mexico in May, and a new “All Dreams Welcome” initiative will roll out the red carpet for all visitors. ABA member San Francisco Travel Association recently debuted a video titled “You’re Welcome Here” to embrace different backgrounds, different circumstances, and different beliefs.
Security: A Top Priority
Of course, while USTA embraces globalization, security must remain a primary focus. “Without security, there is no travel,” said Dow. “We will make it clear in word and in deed that while the U.S. is closed to terror, it remains open for business.” Expansion of the Global Entry Program; Customs and Border Protection expanded preclearance locations; adequate infrastructure that meets the growing demand and volume of travelers; and making sure our airports are up to speed are all priority fixes that help send the message that leisure and business travelers are welcome in the U.S.!