Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Is Travel and Tourism Promotion necessary?

Working on our August issue helped me learn about some aspects of the lodging industry that I hadn't considered before. One issue I researched was that of travel and tourism promotion.

The issue centers on getting people to travel to the U.S. This article on CNN.com highlights our problems in this area. Here is a snippet of the figures:

"According to the U.N. World Tourism Organization, the United States had 51 million international visitors in 2000, more than 7 percent of the 682 million international arrivals worldwide. But as international arrivals worldwide jumped to 846 million in 2006, the U.S. saw roughly the same number of visitors as it used to -- dropping its share to 6 percent.

Nearly 26 million people traveled to the United States from overseas in 2000. But that dropped drastically after 9/11, according to data from the U.S. Commerce Department's Office of Travel & Tourism Industries. The number bottomed out in 2003 with 18 million overseas visitors, and with 24 million last year still had not returned to previous levels."

Basically, we are off our game. To get us back on track, many feel we should spend more government money on commercials and P.R. and promotion to encourage more visitors to vacation here in the states.

I tend to agree with this philosophy in some respects. We should be working to change our image as a nation so that other countries have a more favorable outlook on who and what we are, but I also think there is a cheaper, quicker solution that will jump start the whole thing—not having George W. Bush as president anymore.

I'm not trying to tip my political hat with this; and I'm definitely not saying that Bush is the sole contributor for this problem or any problem. But I do think he is a contributor. Regardless of one's political leanings, President Bush's tenure hasn't made a whole lot of other countries happy. During these past eight years, it has been noted that America's image has taken a hit, which has probably played a part in this drop in numbers. I'm sure it can be hard for some travelers to separate our desirable, hospitable tourist destinations from the image they have of our war-time commander and chief. Now, if you don't care about pleasing other countries, that's fine, but if you are looking to solve what many in the industry feel is a problem, I think this is something to consider.

During the "2008 Obamamania World Tour," it seems Barack Obama is the guy for healing our P.R. wounds. I think a vote for Barack Obama could do more for travel and tourism promotion than any bill Congress could pass. This statement could be way off base, but if travel and tourism is really an issue you care about, I think this position is something to consider.

But, then again, if taxes and card-check are your thing...this may be a poor direction to go.

1 comment:

Jefferson Kim said...

Thanks for forwarding me to the news article on the hotel industry. I don't have the time to actively search out stories specific to the hotel industry.

I'm personally more of a numbers crunching kind of guy, and I personally find more technical analysis of the latest figures to be helpful. For example, the technical analysis of http://bigpicture.typepad.com/

I don't know if you guys have been doing this already because I've just recently been following you.