In May 2012, President Barack Obama unveiled the nation’s first-ever National Travel and Tourism Strategy (NTTS)
. Designed to increase travel to and within the United States, it set an ambitious goal: achieve 100 million annual visitors by 2021 — up 61 percent from 62 million in 2011.
Two years later, the United States is on pace to not only meet its goal, but to exceed it, according to the U.S. Travel Association, which last week published an NTTS progress report showing that in the past two years the nation has achieved a 5.5 percent annual growth rate in international travel and tourism. To achieve the president’s goal, 4.8 percent annual growth is needed.”
“We knew President Obama’s goal for 2021 was ambitious. We also knew it was very achievable with the right strategy,” U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said in a statement. “Travel has recovered jobs at a 49 percent faster rate than the rest of the economy since the recession, and it was the second-fastest growing U.S. industry last year. Also, since inbound international travel counts as an export, travel is one of the strongest contributors to the U.S. trade balance — it’s the third-largest overall export.”
Given the president’s target, the United States should have added 6.2 million new international visitors in the last two years; instead, it’s added 7.1 million.
“The president understands that promoting policies that facilitate travel is one of the best investments you can make in jobs and prosperity from coast to coast,” Dow continued. “The economy is the happy beneficiary of his vision for travel and tourism.”