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Blog Category: Travel

National Travel and Tourism Strategy Sets Goal to Draw 100 million International Visitors to U.S.

One of America's many beautiful National Parks

Guest blog post by Secretary of Commerce John Bryson and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar

As we celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week, the U.S. government is doubling down on its commitment to create more jobs for Americans by growing international and domestic travel and tourism that powers our economy.

Last year, 62 million international tourists visited the United States and pumped a record $153 billion into local economies, helping to support the 7.6 million jobs in our travel and tourism industry. These numbers make tourism America’s number one service export.

That’s why the White House released a new National Travel and Tourism Strategy today, charting a new course toward making America a more attractive and accessible destination than ever before. The Strategy sets a goal of drawing 100 million international visitors by 2021, which is expected to generate $250 billion annually in visitor spending by 2012. The strategy also encourages more Americans to travel within the United States.

America is the land of extraordinary natural wonders – from the Grand Canyon to the Florida Keys; from Yellowstone to Yosemite. America is where we do big things, and as a result, we have incredible landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and the Empire State Building; the Hoover Dam and the Gateway Arch. This is the land of iconic cities and all their sights – from Independence Hall in Philadelphia to the Space Needle in Seattle to the skyline of Chicago. From the Mall of America to Walt Disney World, we have it all right here.

At President Obama’s direction in January, we co-chaired an interagency task force to develop the strategy – identifying concrete steps in five key areas designed to promote these destinations and make America as number one tourism destination in the world:

Secretary Locke Highlights Importance of Tourism to U.S. Economy

Secretary Locke meets with press in Orlando to discuss travel and tourism.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke held a town hall meeting at the University of Central Florida today to discuss the importance of the travel and tourism industry to the U.S. economy. The industry generates nearly $1.3 trillion for the U.S. economy and supports 8.2 million U.S. jobs. Locke also highlighted President Obama’s new Task Force on Space Industry Workforce and Economic Development, a $40 million effort to facilitate economic development along the Space Coast. Locke was joined by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and U.S. Reps. Suzanne Kosmas and Alan Grayson. (More) (Remarks)

Rick Wade to Kick Off National Main Street Business Tour in Michigan

Wade on podium. Click for larger image.

Rick Wade, Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, will travel to Battle Creek and Jackson, Michigan to kick off a national tour that will take him to Main Streets across the country to meet with business leaders and hear directly from them about the challenges they face in this economy, taking their concerns and ideas back to Washington. Wade will meet one-on-one with business leaders, talk to larger groups at chambers of commerce and tour local plants and manufacturing centers during tour stops. (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Discusses Travel and Tourism Industry at American Hotel and Lodging Association Summit

Locke on podium.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke addressed the American Hotel and Lodging Association Legislative Action Summit to discuss the importance of the travel and tourism industry to the U.S. economy. Locke spoke about President Obama’s National Export Initiative and the role travel and tourism plays in growing American jobs. He also discussed plans for implementation of the recently-signed Travel Promotion Act, which establishes a new public-private partnership between the U.S. government and the nation’s travel and tourism industry. (Remarks)

Secretary Locke to Travel to Brazil to Meet with Key Leaders to Strengthen Bilateral, Commercial Relationship

Secretary Locke with Forum participants. Click for larger image.

Photo: American embassy in Brazil

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will travel to Brasilia, Brazil, to meet with key Brazilian leaders, American companies, and public and private sector co-chairs of the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum. During his meetings with American business leaders, Locke will discuss the Obama administration’s National Export Initiative and how it will help those businesses become more competitive abroad while supporting job creation here at home. (March 8 release) (March 9 release)

President Obama Signs the Travel Promotion Act of 2009 into Law

Secretary Locke at far left watches as President Obama signs Act. Click for larger image.

White House photo

President Obama signed the Travel Promotion Act of 2009 (TPA) into law, putting into place a new public-private partnership between the U.S. government and the nation’s travel and tourism industry. The U.S. Department of Commerce stands ready to work with the private sector to promote international travel to the United States. “When international visitors come to the United States they spend money on a wide range of goods and services that support U.S. jobs,” said Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke. “Creating a global tourism promotion program to encourage international visitors to vacation in America will help spur economic growth and create more jobs,” Locke said. (More)

Secretary Locke Announces Travel and Tourism Advisory Board

Locke gesturing from podium.

File photo

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced his decision to appoint the new members of the United States Travel and Tourism Advisory Board (Board). The board’s new charter expanded membership to include a more diverse and expansive industry representation from private sector participants in the travel and tourism industry. The appointees represent a broad cross-section of the industry including transportation services, financial services, and hotels and restaurants, as well as a mix of small and large firms from across the country. (More) (TTAB Web site) (Member list)

Secretary Locke to Travel to Copenhagen to Discuss Administration's Commitment to Spur Clean Energy Technology, Reinvigorate the Economy

U.S. COP-15 logo. Click to go to State Department Web site.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will travel to Copenhagen on Friday to discuss the Obama administration’s commitment to meet clean energy and climate change challenges and the promise clean energy development holds for spurring innovation, reinvigorating the economy and creating jobs. Secretary Locke has been a leading voice in the administration promoting innovation and investment in the clean energy economy. (More) (Commerce COP-15 Web site) (U.S. Center Web site)

Commerce Secretary Locke Statement on U.S. Tourism and the Emergency Declaration for H1N1 Flu

Department of Commerce seal.

“The October 23 declaration was a precautionary measure to ensure that, if needed, medical treatment facilities in the U.S. will have the tools they need to deal with 2009 H1N1 influenza as efficiently as possible. Without the proper context, I know the declaration may have been a cause for concern among some abroad who had been planning travel to the U.S. But let me be very clear: The measure does not represent any change in status of the H1N1 influenza in our country. It was instead an important procedural tactic to help the government and U.S. medical facilities better handle the illness in the future.” (More)

Secretary Locke to Highlight Trade, Intellectual Property Rights and Energy During China Trip

Portrait of Secretary Locke.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will travel to Guangzhou and Hangzhou, China, October 26-30, to co-chair the 20th session of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) and to stress the importance of strong intellectual property rights protection and enforcement around the world. The JCCT, established in 1983, is the main forum for addressing bilateral trade matters and promoting commercial opportunities between the United States and China. Secretary Locke will co-chair the annual high-level JCCT meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan in Hangzhou on October 28-29. (More) (Oct. 21 release) (Fact Sheet)