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THE U

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THE U ...

Job(01)/21 20 February 2001

Symposium on Tourism Services

    THE U.S. TRAVEL INDUSTRY AND INTERNATIONAL TOURISM

I. SIZE AND IMPACT OF THE INDUSTRY

    1. The travel and tourism industry in the United States is considered to be one of the country’s major employers and the third largest retail sales industry. According to the Economic Impact Study

    of the Travel Industry Association of America, travel and tourism represents a $582 billion industry

    (domestic and international spending), representing 2.2 % of the $8.9 trillion GDP in 1999. Tourism

    is the first, second, or third largest industry in over 35 of the 50 states in the United States. Total

    payroll generated by all travel and tourism in 1999 was $159 billion, jobs supported totaled

    7.7 million, and tax revenues generated were $92.5 billion. Spending by U.S. domestic travellers has

    increased from $426 billion in 1998 to $446 billion in 1999, or a 5 % increase.

    2. International tourism for the United States represents the largest service export and the third largest export overall. It is also the largest U.S. service import. The United States is the world’s

    leading exporter and importer of tourism services, with annual receipts of $95 billion and payments of

    over $81 billion, including passenger fares. In 1999, the U.S. hosted 48.5 million international

    travellers, while 58 million U.S. residents travelled to other countries.

    3. The U.S. benefitted from the $ 95 billion in expenditures from international travellers in 1999 by generating a $14 billion trade surplus. International travel has generated a surplus consistently for

    the U.S. balance of trade since 1989. Until recently, the level of international visitation to the United

    States has grown faster than domestic (in-country) travel throughout the United States.

    A. INBOUND TRAVEL

    4. The largest international origin markets for the United States have been Canada (14 million) and Mexico (10 million). The overseas markets have been the stronghold of growth for the United

    States particularly the European markets. European markets have had steady marketing investments

    from destinations and industry businesses. At the same time, Asia has regained its position in

    providing strong growth for inbound markets and Japan alone has been responsible for the majority of

    the travel trade surplus.

    5. Overall, over the past few years the overseas travelers’ behavior patterns have shown some transitions. Variances do occur by region and by country. Overall, however, length of stay has

    decreased by nearly 4 days in the past five years to 15.2 nights for overseas visitors. (Overseas

    excludes Canada and Mexico.) Just slightly less than one-third of the overseas visitors came for

    business purposes in 1999, an increase of 11% from 1994. The proportion of visitors coming to the

    U.S. for leisure/recreation/holiday purposes has remained steady at 63% between 1994 and 1999.

    Additionally, visiting friends and relatives has increased from 29% to 34% over the same time frame.

    Another distinctive change we have observed in the United States is the dramatic increase in

    independent travel, that is, fewer package tours, particularly among the Asian travelers. In 1999 the

    average proportion of overseas travelers who used a package was 22%, down from 34% in 1994.

    Travelers from contiguous countries, Mexico and Canada, tend to demonstrate a direct reaction to

    fluctuations in currency exchange rates with the number of travelers, particularly auto travelers,

    decreasing measurably during disadvantageous rates of exchange.

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    UTBOUND TRAVEL B. O

    6. Estimates by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Tourism Industries Office show that international travel by U.S. residents continues to increase, recording a total of 58 million total

    outbound travelers in 1999. Spending by U.S. travelers abroad has increased from $76 billion in 1998

    to $81 billion in 1999, including passenger fares. Mexico and Canada maintain the lead for top

    destinations with Western Europe as the leader in overseas destinations. In particular, the popular

    regional destinations for U.S. travelers were the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy. Two

    weeks is the average length of stay, but U.S. residents tend to spend less money than overseas visitors

    to the United States, thus tipping the balance of trade in favor of the United States.

    7. U.S. payments for outbound travel, excluding passenger fares, increased from $33 billion in1989 to almost $60 billion in 1999, an 82 percent increase. In the last few years the United States

    has had a deficit in the travel account with Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean, Hong Kong,

    Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Africa (other than South Africa), and with Eastern European

    countries. In 1998 and 1999, the U.S. has had a deficit in travel with Asia (excluding Japan).

    C. DOMESTIC TRAVEL

    8. Domestically, U.S. resident travel within the country has consistently grown by an average 7% in person trips over the past 5 years. Newer destinations are appearing with the proclivity of

    adventure travel and cultural and heritage tourism product offerings. Domestically, more studies are

    focusing on distinctions in travel behavior and the marketing segmentation approaches to reach niche

    markets. According to the Travel Industry Association’s national travel surveys, the trend of more

    frequent trips of shorter duration or weekend travel is continuing. The average American family

    engaging in a two week vacation is severely inhibited by the ability to coordinate vacation schedules

    in a dual working household and the general malaise of time pressures from increased work loads.

    U.S. workers on average only receive thirteen days of vacation leave per year.

    D. FORECAST 9. Based on October, 2000 global economic conditions, the Tourism Industries Office forecasts an increase of 29% for international travel to the U.S. by 2003, topping 62.7 million visitors. Receipts

    are expected to attain over $136 billion. U.S. resident travel outside the country is projected to grow

    to 67.5 million travelers or 16% greater than the 1999 level. Payments generated are estimated to be

    $121 billion. This means that by 2003, the travel trade surplus for the United States will be $14.4

    billion .

    II. ORGANIZATION OF THE NATIONAL TOURISM OFFICE FOR THE UNITED

    STATES

    10. Within the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Tourism Industries Office of the Trade Development Bureau in the International Trade Administration serves as the National Tourism Office

    for the United States. The Office is headed by a Deputy Assistant Secretary. The primary functions

    of the office are policy advocacy, technical assistance for expanding this key export and generation of

    economic and characteristic statistics on international travel to and from the U.S. The Tourism

    Industries Office works in conjunction with the Commerce Department’s Commercial Service for

    outreach and export promotion. This division offers 1700 trade professionals located in 80 overseas

    countries and 100 cities throughout the U.S. Its overseas presence covers 95 percent of the world’s

    export markets. The Commercial Service serves as the eyes and ears in market and is an invaluable

    professional force for corporate consultations and trade export guidance and assistance.

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III. ORGANIZATION FOR TOURISM STATISTICAL RESPONSIBILITIES

    11. The United States has a very clear division of responsibilities for the generation of travel and

    tourism statistics.

    12. Domestic travel and tourism flows and characteristics and trends throughout the United States

    are provided primarily through private sector firms. While U.S. federal government data are used by

    some of the private sector firms for economic impact estimates, the federal government has not

    reported on the impact of domestic travel in the United States since 1977. All of the domestic travel

    is based upon survey samples of the U.S. population. They range in their qualifying criteria so that

    mileage determinations, for example, vary by source. One survey collects travel data based on a 75

    mile radius while another collects on a 100 mile radius.

    13. The maintenance of the U.S. statistical system for international travel and trade data is

    overseen by the Tourism Industries Office (TI). Under U.S. law, the Secretary of Commerce is

    responsible for collecting and publishing “comprehensive international travel and tourism statistics

    and other marketing information” and for designing, implementing, and publishing “international

    travel and tourism forecasting models.” (?10 of the U.S. National Tourism Organization Act of 1996).

    14. The Tourism Industries office generates information on both the inbound and outbound travel

    international traveler population for the United States. The data provided by this office is the result of

    interagency database coordination with the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Bureau of

    Economic Analysis (BEA). The Office also implements the direct authorization for the administering

    of a primary research survey of both the inbound and outbound international travelers, called the

    In-Flight Survey of International Air Travelers.

    15. Tourism Industries produces approximately 1,100 different reports or analyses each year. For

    an idea of the information available, please visit TI’s web site at: http://tinet.ita.doc.gov. Monthly,

    quarterly, annual and other ad hoc reports are available.

    16. The major and most popular reports produced by TI include:

    (a) The Summary of International Travel to the U.S. This is a monthly report with

    year-to-date figures provided on non-resident arrivals to the U.S. as reported on the

    required INS I-94 forms. This database is reorganized by TI to report a type of census

    of travelers to the U.S. based on residency to meet the UN/WTO standard definitions

    and classifications of travelers. It is the only source for country of residence

    estimates for international arrivals to the United States.

    (b) The U.S. International Air Travel Statistics Report. These reports are provided

    monthly, quarterly, and annually. They provide international air traffic data for the

    United States and are the only source of U.S. outbound estimates.

    (c) The In-Flight Survey of International Air Travelers. These reports are issued on a

    quarterly and annual basis. This database provides numerous different reports on the

    travel characteristics, travel patterns and spending data on international travel to and

    from the United States. The survey data is based on a monthly sample of inbound

    and outbound travelers as they depart the U.S. The survey is primarily conducted on

    board the plane (in-flight) as a self administered questionnaire, produced in 12

    languages, including English.

    (d) The Outlook for International Travel to and From the United States. TI issues two

    forecasts per year primarily on inbound arrivals to the United States. Forecasts are

    issued for the next five years for all world regions and almost 30 countries.

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    (e) The Economic Impact of International Travel on State Economies. This report

    provides the expenditures, payroll, employment and tax revenues supported by

    international visitors to the United States for all 50 states.

    (f) Canadian Travel to the United States. This report analyzes Canadian tourism

    patterns and behavior to the United States and is produced annually using the

    Statistics Canada database collected from their International Travel Survey.

    (g) The Travel and Tourism Satellite Accounts. A pilot study was released by the

    Bureau of Economic Analysis in 1998 to more accurately account for the impact of

    the travel and tourism industries on the U.S. economy. An updated estimate of these

    accounts was generated in 1999. The program is supported by the Tourism Industries

    office.

    IV. CONCLUSION

    17. International tourism will continue to be a major source of income and employment for many

    countries and an important contributor to national economies around the world. The United States

    looks forward to a continuing high level of international tourism with minimization and removal of

    travel obstacles to benefit all countries.

    __________

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