Every year U.S, travel service providers, like hotels, theme parks, convention centers, airlines, and tourist boards travel to Berlin to display their wares to the rest of the world. Their goal is to gain a larger slice of the global travel economy. They are selling the U.S.A as a vacation destination for foreign travelers at ITB Berlin, which is the world's largest travel and tourism trade show.
This year, the U.S. delegation will be the largest since 2001. Their message will be, "the U.S. is back in business and eager to welcome international visitors." This comes after a steady decline in international arrivals to the U.S. and a corresponding decline in jobs in the travel and tourism sector of our economy. There are several reasons for this decline.
First, the United State's share of world travel and tourism receipts fell from a whopping 17.9% in 1993 to 12% in 2005. Each percentage drop in inbound tourism reduces U.S. travel and tourism jobs by more than 150,000. Needless to say, travel and tourism is a very important contributor to the U.S. economy.
In 2007, the USA is projected to host more than 54 million international visitors which will generate more than $113 billion in exports.
The reasons for the steady decline in international visitors during the past 5 years center around security, legislation, and politics. After September 11, 2001, many foreign travelers perceived USA's security measures were weak. They also knew our immigration regulations were difficult and time consuming. And finally, many foreign travelers did not approve of the USA's presence in Iraq. They voted their displeasure by traveling to other destinations.
2007 appears to mark the end of the decline of inbound tourists and the negative impact their absence has on our economy. The timing is good since the U.S. Dollar is relatively weak around the world and this makes travel to the USA a bargain. So, when you see foreign tourists, welcome them and thank them for visiting the USA. Every employee in travel and tourism thanks them too!