- April 15, 2012 at 4:18 am #3973ROBKeymaster
Gotta admit, I have turned down the opportunity to go to the US a couple of times simply cos it wasn’t worth the hassle to me. It always struck me as short term thinking that making a place unwelcoming would make it secure. It just makes it poor.
After a tough decade for tourism, the US seeks new ways to attract travellers, writes Harriet Edleson.
There was a time when just the mention of the Grand Canyon, the Pacific Coast Highway or New York’s skyline was enough to entice tourists from around the world. But that was before September 11, 2001, and the rise of security barriers to entering the US, and before Asia’s economic renaissance drew travellers there.
So next month, the US will begin a co-ordinated effort to market itself overseas, using billboards, social media, public relations, trade shows and educational campaigns.
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The marketing effort grows out of a 2010 law, the Travel Promotion Act. The US Travel Association had noted that the US share of global travel had declined between 2000-2010 and that the country’s economy was losing billions of dollars in visitor spending as a result.
The law created a non-profit travel promotion corporation, known as Brand USA, which is financed with public and private money, to run the marketing campaign. While the number of visitors to the US has risen during the past 10 years, the number of travellers worldwide has grown even more. As a result, the country’s share of the total travel market is down to 11.2 per cent in 2010 from 17.3 per cent in 2000.
“After September 11, the perception formed around the world that America was not as welcoming as it once was, that there was difficulty in accessing the visa and the entry process through customs was inefficient,” Geoff Freeman, the US Travel Association’s chief operations officer, says.
“Interest in America is high … but there has been the perception that ‘America isn’t interested in me so I won’t go’. ‘Go away’ was the message we were sending.”
Freeman says people who have been to the US will return, despite the obstacles perceived or real. “But younger travellers or those who haven’t been would go elsewhere,” he says.
Brand USA is relying on a combination of private funds and a $14 fee for each traveller from the 36 countries whose citizens do not need a visa to enter the US to raise $150 million this year. So far, Marriott International, the Walt Disney Company and Best Western International have also agreed to invest $1 million each.
The competition to attract tourists includes nine countries that spend from $50 million to more than $150 million annually to promote themselves: Australia ($106.7 million), Britain ($160 million), Canada ($91.9 million), France ($96 million), Germany ($50.8 million), Italy ($56.6 million), Mexico ($173.8 million), South Korea ($80.5 million) and Turkey ($96.8 million). .
“We’re the last to the party,” Chris Perkins, the chief marketing officer for Brand USA, says.
The US Travel Association will be working with Brand USA at the annual International Pow Wow event in Los Angeles on April 21-25, at which representatives from 70 countries will come to buy travel products they then repackage and sell in their countries.
The goal of Brand USA, set to last until September 2015, is to generate “a tremendous amount of inbound tourism that turns into an economic driver”, Perkins says.
– The New York Times
- April 17, 2012 at 7:11 pm #13474JefeParticipant
I don’t see that much different in the US than most countries in terms of security.
- April 20, 2012 at 10:07 pm #13475ROBKeymaster
Probably cos you’re on a US passport.
I personally know 2 people who have been turned away after flying there. Both Aussies. Both about as “secure” as it gets.
That means people like me don’t even bother unless it’s really important (ie business).
- April 28, 2012 at 10:31 pm #13476Penta2Participant
I was nervous about flying there because I’d heard so many horror stories, but as it turned out we got through incredibly quickly – so quickly, in fact, we had to wait for ages for the people who were picking us up.
- September 15, 2012 at 3:12 pm #13477JefeParticipant
On a US Passport makes zero difference. I ran airport security in a few countries and post 911, its all mostly the same. America is
for obvious reasons more concerned than most (i.e., we are the #1 target).
As far as tourism goes, I see them all the time here and there is no critical shortage.
I always got a kick out of close to two decades abroad how many people hated the USA and were in line for a Visa to move here.
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