In March 2010 President Obama continued his administration’s efforts to increase inbound travel and double exports with the signing of the “Travel Promotion Act.”
Intended to present the United States as a favorable tourism destination, the “Travel Promotion Act” has been met with mixed feelings amongst Americans since its inception.
A key component of the act was the formation of a “Corporation for Travel Promotion.” The “Corporation for Travel Promotion” recently made some essential and long awaited personnel decisions that are expected to help increase inbound travel.
What is the Corporation for Travel Promotion?
Made up of travel and tourism leaders across the nation, the “Corporation for Travel Promotion” (CTP) will be the governing body that determines how the estimated $200 million per year in travel promotion funds will be spent.
In early September eleven members of the travel and tourism industry were named to the CTP Board of Directors by United States Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. The 11 respected tourism community leaders came from the District of Columbia, Illinois, Wyoming, Florida, Georgia, New York, Nevada, California and Texas, respectively.
One major proponent of the CTP has been Roger Dow, President and CEO of the United States Travel Association. As such, Dow is being recognized for his outstanding efforts by such renowned tourism industry groups as Destination Marketing Association International, National Tour Operators Association and the Destination Travel Foundation.
He is even slated to be the recipient of the 2011 “Spirit of Hospitality Award” that is to be distributed in Washington, D.C on February 23rd at the annual Destination Travel Foundation’s dinner and secret auction.
Where is the Money for this Program coming from?
The estimated $200 million per year in travel promotion funds will originate from a compilation of private donations and fees that will be collected from foreign travelers through an electronic system for travel authorization program.
The “Electronic System for Travel Authorization Program” (ESTA) was first introduced in January 2009 and is governed by the United States Department of Homeland Security. The ESTA program requires foreigners from countries that are a part of the “Visa Waiver Program” to register with the Unites State government via an online database. The registering process was designed with the idea of eliminating the need for international travelers to submit an I-94W form before each trip to the United States.
Where is the Money Going?
The money is supposed to be spent on advertising and overall destination marketing efforts meant to promote United States travel destinations as a whole to the various macro and micro target markets that comprise the broader inbound travel market.
The United States Department of Commerce Office of Travel and Tourism Industries reported that the top 10 inbound travel markets Visitation of 2009 were as follows; Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, France, Brazil, Italy, South Korea and Australia.
In terms of overall spending, the top 10 inbound travel markets were; Canada, Japan, United Kingdom, Mexico, Germany Brazil, France, India, China and Australia.
In summary, visitors from Canada made up 33 percent of the total international arrivals to the United States and created a $10 billion dollar trade surplus in FY 2009.
Detailed information about those markets is available on the “International Trade Administration Office of Travel and Tourism Industries” website.
What Impact is this Expected to Have on Inbound Tourism?
A recent study by Oxford Economics predicted that a program such as CTP could attract an estimated 1.6 million new visitors per year. Increased international visitors will no doubt lead to increased revenues.
According to the “International Trade Administration Office of Travel and Tourism Industries” in 2009 the United States Travel and Tourism industry generated $1.25 trillion dollars in total sales revenue, generated 8.21 million jobs and comprised 2.7% of our country’s Gross Domestic Product.
Those that are interested in learning more about CTP, its’ expected impact on the travel and tourism industry as well as information on the hospitality industry as a whole have several reputable tourism industry websites that they can look to such as the “United States Travel Association”, “National Tour Operators Association”,Destination Marketing International” and the “American Society of Travel Agents.”