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Blog Category: Travel and tourism

U.S. to See Boost in International Tourism

Secretary Bryson Speaking at the U.S. Travel Association's International Pow Wow

U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson has announced that the U.S.’ number-one services export, travel and tourism, is growing stronger, creating jobs and boosting the American economy.

The Secretary announced today that the United States can expect to see a 4-5 percent average annual growth in tourism over the next five years, predicting that 65.4 million foreign travelers are projected to visit the United States in 2012 alone.

The Spring 2012 Travel and Tourism Forecast, released semi-annually by the International Trade Association (ITA), predicts continued strong growth in tourism to the U.S. following two consecutive record-setting years.

Secretary Bryson announced the Forecast at the U.S. Travel Association’s International Pow Wow annual event in Los Angeles, where he delivered remarks before more than 5,000 people from 70 countries from the travel and tourism industry.

Making America a Top Tourist Destination: Commerce and Interior Keep Up Efforts to Increase Visitation

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

This month, more than a million visitors from across the country and around the world are coming to our nation’s capital to see the cherry blossom trees that bloom each spring among some of America’s most treasured historical landmarks. From the purchase of airline tickets to dining in area restaurants to staying in hotels, these visitors are infusing millions of dollars into the community and supporting local businesses.
 
As we search for ways to grow our nation’s economy, we must not overlook the travel and tourism industry as a source for economic opportunity. According to data released by the Commerce Department earlier today, tourism spending increased 8.1 percent in 2011 and supported an additional 103,000 jobs, for a total of 7.6 million jobs.
 
A big factor in the increase was a surge in international visitors to our country: in 2011, 2.5 million more international visitors came to the United States compared with the previous year. These international visitors spent an all-time record of $153 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services.
 
As this data reveals, the travel and tourism industry is one of the most important engines of our economy—in fact, it is our number-one service export. That is why President Obama recently announced the creation of a Task Force on Travel and Competitiveness, which charged us with leading efforts to develop recommendations for a National Travel and Tourism Strategy to promote travel throughout the United States.

Secretary Bryson Welcomes New Travel and Tourism Advisory Board Members

Secretary Bryson Swearing in the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board

As our economy continues to recover from the worst recession in memory, families in communities across America remain focused on what else can be done to spur job creation. Today was an important day for them.

This afternoon, President Obama announced a task force to develop a National Travel & Tourism Strategy, which will be co-chaired by Secretary Bryson, and he signed a corresponding Executive Order that will make it easier for international visitors to travel to America. That’s important because those visitors help create jobs by spending money in our stores, eating in our restaurants and visiting U.S. tourist destinations that are famous all around the world.

Following this announcement, Secretary Bryson met with and conducted a swearing-in ceremony for 32 newly appointed members of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, an advisory body of industry executives that provides vital input on government policies and programs affecting the travel and tourism industry.

Acting Secretary Blank Meets with Travel and Tourism Advisory Board and Announces the Latest Data on International Visitation and Visitor Expenditures

This morning Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank met with key business leaders at the final meeting of the Commerce Department’s Travel and Tourism Advisory Board to discuss the President’s plan to create jobs across America, highlighting the essential role of the travel and tourism industry to American jobs and the American economy.  She announced that international visitors spent a record-setting $13.3 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States during the month of July – $1.8 billion or 15 percent more than was spent in July 2010.

The travel and tourism industry accounts for 25 percent of exports in services and 7 percent of all U.S. exports. Travel and tourism is one the industries targeted to help grow jobs across America and achieve the goal of doubling exports through President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI).   The Board meeting highlighted collaboration between the federal government and the private sector to address policy issues to help increase legitimate international travel to the United States.

The United States Travel and Tourism Advisory Board is the premier source of industry advice to the Secretary of Commerce.  The Board has met five times throughout their charter term, providing industry input on travel facilitation, airport security, marketing, communications, research and data and energy policy. It has been rechartered and is accepting applications for the next board - deadline is Friday.

Largest-ever EDA Grant Helps To Revitalize Downtown Cedar Rapids & Create Jobs Following Iowa Floods

Acting Secretary Rebecca Blank and Other Officials Break Ground on the Cedar Rapids Convention Center

Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank joined U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, Mayor Ron Corbett and U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, this week to see how federal funds are making a difference following historic floods that ravaged the city and its economy in 2008.

With the help of a $35 million grant–the largest Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has ever awarded –the city is building a new $75.6 million Convention Complex that will serve as a major catalyst for further economic development and investment in the city–creating hundreds of jobs and leveraging millions in private investment. The 435,000 sq. ft. complex will be the second-largest convention and events center in the state upon its completion in the spring of 2013.

Iowa continues to recover from the economic impact of the floods, which interrupted major manufacturing operations, devastated downtown commercial districts, and damaged or destroyed public infrastructure. The Obama administration continues to invest in rebuilding efforts to strengthen local economies across Iowa. More than $1 billion in federal assistance has been awarded to the state to support flood recovery efforts.

Prior to a groundbreaking ceremony for the complex, Blank and Fernandez visited Ovation Networks, a local wireless technology company that was displaced by the flooding in downtown Cedar Rapids. There they announced a new $2.9 million grant to the East Central Iowa Council of Governments to provide additional business assistance and gap financing to companies still recovering from the floods. Three years ago, the Council received $1.5 million from EDA, which they used to assist local businesses like Ovation Networks to rebuild and return to the downtown area.  |  Release  |  Convention Center remarks  |  Ovation Networks remarks 

U.S. Tourism is Big Business at International Pow Wow

Chart showing growth in travel and tourism

Guest blog post by Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

The U.S. Travel Association’s International Pow Wow is the travel industry’s premier international marketplace and the largest generator of USA travel.

The three-day event is action-packed and filled with pre-scheduled business appointments, with more than 5,000 attendees expected and international and domestic buyers and representatives from more than 70 countries will be attending. The business negotiations that take place result in the generation of more than $3.5 billion in future USA travel.  In other words, Pow Wow is a big deal. 

We at the Commerce Department have enjoyed a close relationship with Pow Wow for years and added the conference into the Department’s International Buyer Program in 2011. The International Trade Administration (ITA) recruited qualified buyers from all over the world to attend Pow Wow.  There are currently 1,135 international buyer delegates, including delegations from emerging markets like China and the Czech Republic, and 1,047 U.S. companies registered for the show this year.

Secretary Locke Announces 47 Percent Trade Surplus in the Travel and Tourism Industry

Secretary Locke convenes travel and tourism advisory committee

At a meeting of the Commerce Department’s Travel and Tourism Advisory Board today, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced a 47 percent surge in the travel and tourism trade surplus in 2010; the surplus now exceeds $28 billion. The United States welcomed more than 55 million international visitors during the first 11 months of 2010, 11.4 million more visitors than the year before. While international visitation increased 10 percent, international visitor spending increased 11 percent to $122.7 billion. The travel and tourism industry employs nearly 8 million people across the United States.

During the meeting, Locke discussed the progress made on the president’s National Export Initiative, which aims to double exports by 2015 in support of several million U.S. jobs. Through November 2010, total U.S. exports were up 17 percent, and travel and tourism is on track to contribute to significant export growth.

“Travel and tourism continues to be one of the bright spots in the U.S. economy,” said Locke. “With a $28.3 billion trade surplus in the first 11 months of 2010, this industry has a huge role to play in helping our country answer President Obama’s call to double our exports by 2015 and win the future.”

The Board consists of 30 industry leaders from the travel and tourism industry who are appointed to advise Secretary Locke on matters relating to the industry and provide policy recommendations.  The Board was re-chartered in September 2009, and the current term will expire on September 3, 2011. 

Members of the Travel Facilitation Working Group presented a letter to Secretary Locke with 10 recommendations that address key visa and customer service issues, with the goal to increase the number of overseas international visitors to the U.S. to meet the current forecast of 36.7 million visitors by 2015, supporting job creation. |  Remarks

September Marks the Fifth Consecutive Month of Double-Digit Travel and Tourism Export Growth

Graph of Change in U..S. Travel and Tourism-Related ExportsInternational travelers spent nearly $12 billion in the U.S. in September

According to newly released data from the Commerce Department, international visitors traveling to the United States pumped an estimated $11.7 billion into the U.S. economy during the month of September, up $1.7 billion compared to the same period last year.  This marks the fifth month of double-digit growth and ninth straight month of overall growth in U.S. travel and tourism exports.  Total travel and tourism-related exports have increased, on average, $1.2 billion a month in 2010. 

“Travel and tourism continues to be one of the bright spots in our economy,” Locke said.  “Continued growth in the tourism sector will help us achieve our goal of doubling exports over the next two years.” 

  • Travel Receipts: Purchases of travel and tourism-related goods and services by international visitors traveling in the United States totaled $9.0 billion during September, an increase of 15 percent when compared to last year. These goods and services include food, lodging, recreation, gifts, entertainment, local transportation in the United States, and other items incidental to foreign travel. 
  • Passenger Fare Receipts: Fares received by U.S. carriers (and U.S. vessel operators) from international visitors increased by nearly 27 percent to $2.7 billion for the month, an increase of $575 million when compared to September 2009.

International visitors have spent an estimated $100 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services year to date (January through September), an increase of 11 percent when compared to the same period last year.

Americans have spent nearly $77.4 billion abroad year-to-date (up four percent)—resulting in a $22.6 billion trade surplus for travel and tourism through the first nine months of 2010.

Secretary Locke Announces Board of Directors for New Corporation for Travel Promotion

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today appointed 11 travel and tourism industry leaders to serve on the Corporation for Travel Promotion (CTP) Board of Directors. The CTP is a new non-profit corporation that will promote travel to the United States and communicate and improve the entry process so that visitors want to return.

The Corporation will help enhance the competitiveness of an already robust industry, which supports more than 8 million American jobs and is a critical source of export strength. Many other nations operate ministries of tourism that actively market their countries as tourist destinations around the world. The Corporation will help get America into the game and encourage people across the globe to travel to the U.S.  

“We are extremely pleased to join with this diverse group of talented travel and tourism industry leaders as we work together to strengthen this important sector of the U.S. economy,” Locke said. “President Obama recognizes the critical role that attracting international visitors to the United States plays in creating jobs and growing our economy.”

The CTP and its efforts to promote America as a travel destination will be funded by private donations and matching funds from a new fee collected from foreign travelers to the U.S.

The CTP Board of Directors represents various regions of the United States and each member has expertise and experience in specific sectors of the travel and tourism industry.  See the full release

Commerce Secretary Locke Meets With U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board in New Orleans

Visiting New Orleans today, Secretary Locke met with the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board to discuss how government and industry leaders can support travel and tourism in areas impacted by the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill.

“Jobs are the number one priority of the Obama administration and the travel and tourism industry plays a key role in that effort,” Locke said. “It's clear we are going to need a proactive and aggressive approach to expand travel and tourism both in the Gulf and throughout the United States.”

In addition to the board’s central discussion on improving the industry in the Gulf, members also addressed tourism policies and other nationwide issues. The travel and tourism industry is a significant contributor to trade and economic development in the United States, and the board will play a key role in the development of the administration’s export policies.

Today’s meeting was the second of the current board, made up of 27 industry leaders.  Read more