United States Unveils New National Travel and Tourism Strategy

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

The Commerce Department revealed the official 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.

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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,” according to Reuters.com.

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

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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 US 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 US President Joe Biden and his administration.

Speaking at IPW 2022 in Orlando Florida on Monday, June 6, Brand USA CEO Chris Thompson and Grant Harris, the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Analysis, announced the four pillars of the strategy as well as new partnerships with companies designed to invigorate tourism , including Disney, Comcast and every state’s office of tourism.

“Travel tourism strategy has four pillars,” Harris 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 US 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.

The US Travel Association applauded the Biden Administration’s new strategy but says there is a lot of work to be done starting with ending the pre-departure testing requirement.

“We commend the leadership of Commerce Secretary Raimondo and the Tourism Policy Council and applaud the ambitious goal of attracting 90 million visitor arrivals annually in the US by 2027. The strategy sets out specific actions that the government can take to rebuild our travel economy and make it more globally competitive than it was before the pandemic, ”said Roger Dow, President and CEO of the US Travel Association.

“There is a lot of work ahead, but the administration must start by immediately repealing the pre-departure testing requirement for all vaccinated international air travelers and taking steps to drastically lower visa wait times.”

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