Brand USA Hopes Inbound Travel Could Rebound

Brand USA Hopes Inbound Travel Could Rebound

The UN World Tourism Organization believes Spain will soon replace the United States as the world’s second-most popular tourist destination.

Despite terrorist attacks in 2017, the European country attracted a record 82 million visitors last year.

France meanwhile, will likely remain in the top spot as the world’s most popular place to visit, according to a report in The Guardian.

Though the final figures are not expected to be released until this spring, the news comes on the heels of another announcement regarding an apparent downward trend in visitation to the United States.

A report prepared by the U.S. Travel Association recently revealed that while global travel volume increased 7.9 percent from 2015 through 2017, the U.S. slice of that growing pie fell from 13.6 percent to 11.9 percent during the same period.

It’s the first drop after more than a decade of consistent growth, according to a press release issued by the newly formed Visit U.S. Coalition, a group that hopes to work with the Trump administration to reverse what it called “the decline in U.S. competitiveness for international tourism dollars.”

Additionally, the U.S. was one of only two destinations in the top dozen global markets to see a decline in long-haul inbound travel since 2015.

According to the group, if the U.S. maintained its 2015 market share, the economy would have gained 7.4 million additional international visitors and $32.2 billion in additional spending, while also adding 100,000 new jobs.

The Visit U.S. Coalition press release, however, did not specify whether this decline is tied to what has been labeled the “Trump slump,” which is based on the notion that the president’s controversial policies or rhetoric may be scaring visitors away.

Given this flurry of recent news, it seemed an appropriate time to speak with Chris Thompson, president, and CEO of Washington D.C.-based Brand USA, the organization charged with marketing this country to visitors from around the world.

Brand USA’s campaigns and marketing initiatives over the past four years have helped attract 4.3 million visitors to this country and those travelers have had a $29.5 billion economic impact.

Established by the Travel Promotion Act as the nation's first public-private partnership to promote the United States as a premier travel destination, Brand USA markets America in a variety of ways, including using digital platforms, engaging social media influencers around the world, conducting outreach to travel trade industry officials and creating visually stunning IMAX films about the U.S. that are shown in dozens of countries.

The first IMAX film produced by the organization, entitled 'National Parks Adventure', showcased America through its national parks and became the highest grossing documentary film of 2016, with $44 million in advertising value.

What’s more, 81 percent of viewers said they were more likely to visit this country after having seen the film, and 62 percent said they are more likely to visit the U.S. instead of another destination.

The organization is now preparing to launch its second IMAX film on February 15, one that will tell the story of this country and showcase its appeal as a destination through its musical history.

Having overseen so much success for Brand USA, Thompson remained unflustered by the reports regarding Spain’s gain in popularity.

Source: Travel Pulse

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