The U.S. is falling behind in the race to grow and modernize travel.

While the U.S. remains the world’s most desired destination for travelers, it ranks only third in visitation. While top global competitors are fully recovered from the pandemic and increasing market share, the U.S. is only 84% recovered and its market share has declined (from 5.4% in 2019 to 5.3% in 2023).  

U.S. Travel Association commissioned Euromonitor International, a global research firm, to assess U.S. competitiveness against 17 other top countries for global travel so U.S. officials—and private sector partners—can better understand how to improve the overall travel experience, increase U.S. competitiveness and ultimately grow U.S. market share.

The study compared the 18 markets (including the U.S.) across four categories:

  • National Leadership
  • Brand and Product
  • Identity, Security and Facilitation
  • Travel and Connectivity

The findings are a wake-up call: Overall, the U.S. ranked 17 out of 18 countries analyzed—second to last. The U.S. notably underperformed in the categories of National Leadership and Identity, Security and Facilitation.

The U.S. is hindered by self-imposed barriers: Restrictive visitor visa policies and lengthy wait times, a lack of federal leadership and coordination, outdated security screening practices and decades of underinvestment prohibit the U.S. from reclaiming its spot as the top visited destination in the world—costing the U.S. economy billions in lost visitor spending and impeding future growth.

Our response: On January 11, U.S. Travel launched a solutions-oriented Seamless and Secure Travel Commission—which will bring together former government officials and private sector executives—to identify policy recommendations that can be realized in the near term. The commission will also establish a 10-year vision to create a more seamless and secure travel experience, outlining ways the federal government can work with the travel industry on opportunities to enhance the travel process and facilitate growth. 

Seamless and Secure Travel Commission Members: 

  • Kevin McAleenan, Former Acting Secretary of Homeland Security; Former Commissioner & Deputy Commissioner, U.S. Customs & Border Protection (Commission Chair)
  • Stewart Baker, Former General Counsel, National Security Agency; Former Assistant Secretary for Policy, Department of Homeland Security
  • Seth Stodder, Former Assistant Secretary for Borders, Immigration, & Trade Policy, Department of Homeland Security
  • John Sanders, Former Acting Commissioner & Chief Operating Officer, U.S. Customs & Border Protection; Former Assistant Administrator, Chief Technology Officer, Transportation Security Administration
  • Patty Cogswell, Former Deputy Administrator, Transportation Security Administration
  • John Pistole, Former Administrator, Transportation Security Administration
  • Martha Bárcena Coqui, Former Mexican Ambassador to the United States
  • Lucy Chadwick, Former Director General, International, Security & Environment Group, U.K. Department for Transport
  • Michael Huerta, Former Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration
  • Shawn Kinder, Global Corporate Development and Strategy Director, Ferrovial Airports
  • John Holland Kaye, Former CEO of Heathrow Airport

Read the full release. 

Euromonitor Commission Summary for Members Euromonitor Commission Social Media Guide for Members

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