Commerce Secretary John Bryson and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today announced the Administration's National Tourism and Travel Strategy -- delivering on President Obama's call in January for a national strategy to promote domestic and international travel opportunities throughout the United States.
The National Strategy is a blueprint for expanding travel to and within the U.S., laying out concrete steps to be taken in five key areas. It sets out a goal of increasing American jobs by attracting and welcoming 100 million international visitors annually by the end of 2021, more than a 50 percent increase over the number expected this year. These international visitors would spend an estimated $250 billion per year, creating jobs and spurring economic growth in communities across the country.
"Tens of millions of tourists from all over the world come and visit America every year. They stay in our hotels, they eat at our restaurants, they visit our attractions, and they help create jobs. At a time when too many Americans are still looking for work, we need to make it easier for more people to visit this country and keep our economy growing," said President Obama.
"This Administration will continue to do everything we can to support travel and tourism -- our number one services export -- which will help support millions of American jobs," Secretary Bryson said. "I am proud of our work on the National Strategy, a product of a strong private-public partnership, which will make the U.S. even more welcoming to visitors and reinforce our message to the world: the United States is open for business."
"As our nation's economy continues to gain strength, tourism - especially international tourism - holds the promise of being an economic engine for the country," Secretary Salazar said. "These recommendations will help make the United States a more attractive travel destination for people around the globe, and I look forward to working with our partners across government and industry to turn this strategy into action."
The U.S. tourism and travel industry is a substantial component of U.S. GDP, exports, and employment. Efforts to make America the top tourist destination in the world offer a tremendous opportunity to create jobs and strengthen the U.S. economy. In 2011, the travel and tourism industry generated $1.2 trillion from domestic and international travel and supported 7.6 million jobs -- with international travel to the United States resulting in a record $153 billion in receipts and supporting 1.2 million jobs. The Commerce Department recently released a travel and tourism forecast projecting that the U.S. can expect 4-5 percent average annual growth in tourism over the next five years, and that 65.4 million foreign travelers are projected to visit the U.S. in 2012 alone.
In January 2012, President Obama signed an Executive Order and announced new administrative initiatives to significantly increase travel and tourism in the United States. He charged Secretaries Bryson and Salazar with leading a Task Force for Travel and Competitiveness to create the National Strategy. Today's strategy reflects input from local government and business leaders, including the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board (TTAB), as well as ongoing initiatives throughout the Federal government, to ensure that the government leverages all of our national assets and resources to fully support the travel and tourism industry.