The U.S. Department of Commerce recently released its revised international arrivals numbers.
Based on this data, U.S. Travel calculates that between 2015 and 2017, the U.S. saw its share of the global long-haul travel market drop from 13.8 percent to 12.2 percent—the lowest percentage since 2010. As America’s share of the global long-haul travel market shrinks, it has a devastating ripple effect on jobs and the U.S. economy.
Had the U.S. retained its 2015 market share of 13.8 percent through 2016 and 2017, we would have welcomed an additional 7.2 million visitors, resulting in $31 billion in travel spending and 96,000 more jobs.
In order to reclaim our market share, it is crucial to implement a national strategy on travel and tourism. We can start by expanding the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), a security partnership that allows most residents of 38 allied nations to travel visa-free to the U.S. for tourism or business stays of 90 days or fewer. The addition of Poland and other qualified countries to the VWP would provide a boost to the number of secure, pre-vetted business and leisure travelers to the U.S., while also enhancing security cooperation between member countries.
Another critical component to a national strategy on travel and tourism is the reauthorization of Brand USA, the country’s destination marketing organization. In 2017, Brand USA’s marketing efforts generated more than one million incremental visitors, resulting in an economic impact of $8.5 billion and 54,212 new American jobs. Best of all, Brand USA does its work at no cost to U.S. taxpayers.
Brand USA is set to expire in 2020, and its reauthorization by Congress—along with the expansion and enhancement of the Visa Waiver Program—will be key in reversing the decline of America’s global long-haul market share.