‘This is the moment.’ Annual goal is 90 million international visitors for the next five years
ORLANDO — A new National Travel and Tourism Strategy to reignite international inbound travel to the U.S. and rebuild our travel economy was unveiled on Monday during the 53rd Annual IPW in Orlando.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo made the announcement, setting an ambitious five-year goal of attracting 90 million international visitors to the United States each year. It’s estimated these visitors would spend $279 billion annually, supporting job creation across the United States, territories, and the District of Columbia.
Specifically, the strategy aims to:
- promote the USA as a premier travel destination, including broadening marketing efforts to encourage visitation to underserved and underrepresented communities;
- facilitate safe and efficient travel to and within the USA and its territories;
- ensure diverse and accessible tourism experiences with a focus on showcasing the nation’s federal lands and waters while also protecting them for future generations;
- foster resilient and sustainable travel and tourism with goals to reduce the sectors’ contributions to climate change while rebuilding sectors that protect natural resources, support the tourism economy and ensure equitable development.
Read the strategy and the fact sheet.
“The impact of COVID-19 has taken a toll on our national and local economies, but it also has presented us with a unique opportunity to mold a more inclusive, equitable, sustainable and resilient travel and tourism industry than ever before. Our new strategy leverages the best of what the U.S. public and private sectors offer, which will promote jobs, recover lost revenues, and inspire unforgettable experiences,” said Secretary Raimondo.
Applauding the move during the 53rd Annual IPW taking place in Orlando, Roger Dow, outgoing President & CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, said, “This is the moment. This is the year we bring travel back.”
He added, “The new National Travel and Tourism Strategy comes at an important time when international travel spending in the U.S. was still 78% below 2019 levels in 2021. There is a lot of work ahead, but the administration must start by immediately repealing the pre-departure testing requirement for all vaccinated international air travelers and taking steps to drastically lower visa wait times…Average wait times for visa appointments have also soared to more than a year in some of our top source markets, which prevents millions of people from visiting.”
Also getting behind the strategy and thanking Roger Dow for his 17 years of service, Brand USA President and CEO Chris Thompson told international travel journalists that Dow had brought unprecedented “profile and strength” to the U.S. travel industry during his long tenure. Thompson outlined new details about the recovery framework that includes three communications tasks: prove we’re ready, welcome the world back, and entice and convert.
In 2020, the Commerce Department’s National Travel and Tourism Office reported that the decline in travel and tourism to and within the United States accounted for 56% of the decline in U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), and travel exports dropped 65% in 2020 when compared to 2019 pre-pandemic levels.
Monthly overseas arrivals to the United States have increased from roughly 775,000 in October 2021 to more than 2 million in April 2022. As a result, international travel to the United States has generated a trade surplus in each of the past five months indicating a positive trend toward recovery even as international travel remains below pre-pandemic levels.