Trends and technology may come and go, but one thing remains the same: the spirit of welcome is essential to the U.S. travel industry.

“Welcome.”

This enduring ethos has driven America’s travel industry from the days of folding maps to the era of GPS. Making sure each visitor has the most positive and memorable experience possible is the philosophy at the heart of the U.S. travel and tourism community. It’s worth recognizing this National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) as we celebrate 35 years of this annual industry observance. 

As we announced late last year, the theme of National Travel and Tourism Week 2018 is “Travel Then and Now.” It’s all about shining a spotlight on the contributions and accomplishments of the U.S. travel industry over the last several decades, while advocating for policies that will benefit travelers for generations to come.

This year, it’s also the perfect opportunity to show exactly how your community extends a warm welcome to travelers from near and far. In fact, it’s never been more important to promote such a message, in light of the recent decline in America’s share of the international travel market. 

So, how can travel businesses, destinations and communities add the “welcome” element to their NTTW celebration this year? We’ve got a few ideas to demonstrate to our country—and the world—what makes the American travel industry great:

  • “Share your welcome,” either individually or when your community unites at Travel Rally Day with simple gestures such as a video filmed on your phone, a picture, or a short note welcoming visitors to your destination, and post it on social media with the #nttw18 hashtag. (Feel free to draw some inspiration from Brand USA’s One Big Welcome campaign!). The Colorado Tourism Office has taken this idea and made it their own—check out their toolkit for some inspiration.
  • In your social media posts, blog posts, op-eds, and other communications, give examples of how your community has grown economically and culturally thanks to travel—emphasizing that it’s all because your destination prioritized welcoming travelers.
  • When you post or share those great old pictures of your destination or attraction from years ago, caption them with a statement that emphasizes how welcome has always been a part of your culture, no matter the time in history (for example, “Whether they bring steamer trunks or roller bags, arrive by stagecoach or rideshare, [DESTINATION] has always welcomed visitors from all over”). 

Check out the NTTW toolkit on April 16, where we will be providing updated messages and ideas on ways you can “share your welcome” while you celebrate “Travel Then and Now.” New travel numbers for 2017 will also be available for you to use in your communications and social media campaigns. Finally, be sure to tell us how you’ll be celebrating by adding your event to the NTTW event map.

NTTW gives our industry a chance to reiterate what makes us unique, and make sure our guests know they are welcomed and valued—always have been and always will be. Travel to and within the U.S. looks very different now than it did even a few decades ago, but one thing has always remained the same: America’s desire to welcome visitors is what truly makes our country great.