Travel to U.S., Improve America’s Image Abroad
DC — February 2007 - Speaking to an audience of more than 500 travel industry
leaders here today, Jay Rasulo, National Chairman of the Travel Industry
Association (TIA), touted a new three-step plan to strengthen America’s
security and repair the country’s image to potential travelers abroad.
The goal of the plan, called A Blueprint to Discover America, is to welcome more international visitors to the United States – something at which America has been losing competitiveness for many years, Rasulo said. Overseas travel to the U.S. is down 17 percent since 2001, with business travel alone down 10 percent from 2004 to 2005, according to TIA.
“This isn’t a sweeping overhaul of our travel policies,” Rasulo said. “It is, rather, a set of common sense solutions to adapt to the way that people are traveling today. It’s using new technology and proven processes to make travel easier and more secure at the same time.”
Rasulo’s comments came at TIA’s 15th annual State of the Travel Industry Luncheon. The gathering is one of the largest travel and tourism industry events held in Washington. Rasulo is serving a second term as TIA’s chairman, and has been crisscrossing the country over the last year, raising awareness about the nation’s poor image abroad and attendant drop in business/leisure travel to the U.S.
The Blueprint to Discover America was unveiled earlier in the day by the Discover America Partnership (DAP), a coalition of some of America’s foremost business and travel industry leaders dedicated to help the U.S. better compete for international visitors. Rasulo, who is Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, was instrumental in helping found the DAP last September and in creating the blueprint announced today.
“The plan we now have in hand is the single most important document our industry has ever created,” Rasulo said. “Its fulfillment is the single most important action we can undertake as an industry.”
Among the major reasons why travelers are not coming to the U.S.: concerns about the U.S. visa process and perception of poor treatment at the point of entry. The blueprint provides detailed strategies to address these important issues, according to Rasulo.
Rasulo noted that the program presents an attractive return on investment. "We can implement the plan for about $300 million a year,” he said. “That’s a very low investment considering the high returns we’ll generate: billions of dollars added to the economy and tax revenues, and hundreds of thousands of new jobs."
“The return is so good,” he added, “that we can’t afford NOT to make the investment.”
Among the blueprint’s recommendations:
Rasulo’s full speech may be viewed at www.tia.org
Copies of the Blueprint to Discover America may be downloaded at www.poweroftravel.org
TIA is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the $703 billion travel industry. TIA's mission is to represent the whole of the U.S. travel industry to promote and facilitate increased travel to and within the United States.
|Also See:||TIA National Chairman Jay Rasulo Calls for New Industry Strategy to Compete in World Tourism Market / January 2006|
|Of Americans Planning to Travel this Summer, 21% Have Already Arranged for Lodging at their Destination / TIA / March 2006|
|Travel by Americans this Winter Expected to Grow 2% Over Last Winter / Travel Industry Association of America / December 2005|