United States Unveils New National Travel and Tourism Strategy

United States Unveils New National Travel and Tourism Strategy

Brand USA CEO Chris Thompson. (photo via Eric Bowman)

The United States Department of Commerce announced a new strategy aimed at boosting the international tourism industry following the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Reuters.com, the Commerce Department revealed its National Travel and Tourism Strategy, which set goals to welcome 90 million international visitors by 2027 and achieve an estimated $279 billion in annual spending.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said the government must do more to support the resurgence of travel and tourism, since “there are a lot of industries that are well past COVID – travel and tourism is not.”

Raimondo also wants travel to become “more resilient, sustainable and equitable.”

In addition to setting international tourism goals, the government agency is looking to modernize and streamline entry procedures for international visitors and reduce COVID-related restrictions that make it complicated to visit.

The U.S. still requires incoming tourists to show proof of vaccination and nearly all international air passengers to test negative before travel, both of which have received pushback from airlines across America.

Raimondo said the testing protocols were acting as a “barrier” to the travel industry’s recovery and she has been expressing that frustration to U.S. President Joe Biden and his administration.

Brand USA CEO Chris Thompson also announced new partnerships with companies designed to invigorate tourism, including Disney, Comcast and every state’s office of tourism.

“Travel tourism strategy has four pillars,” Thompson said. “First, promote the United States as a travel destination; second, facilitate travel to and within the United States; third, ensure diverse, inclusive and accessible travel experiences; and fourth, foster resilient and sustainable tourism.”

The National Travel and Tourism Strategy also includes promoting more diverse tourism experiences beyond coastal states, reducing the industry’s contributions to climate change and building a sector that is resilient to natural disasters and public health threats.

Before the pandemic, the U.S. welcomed 79.4 million international visitors, a figure that plummeted to 19.2 million in 2020 and increased to 22.1 million in 2021. International tourism spending reached $239.4 billion in 2019 but dropped to $81 billion during the pandemic.

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