WASHINGTON—Trade groups representing thousands of businesses and millions of jobs on Tuesday have launched the Visit U.S. Coalition, whose aim is to partner with the Trump administration to reverse the decline in U.S. competitiveness for international travel dollars.
Research prepared for Visit U.S. by the U.S. Travel Association shows that while global travel volume increased 7.9% from 2015 to 2017, the U.S. slice of that growing pie fell from 13.6% to 11.9% in the same period—the first drop after more than a decade of consistent growth.
If the U.S. had maintained its 2015 market share, its economy would have gained 4 million additional international visitors; $32.2 billion in additional spending; and 100,000 additional jobs, according to the coalition.
Founding members of the Visit U.S. Coalition include the American Gaming Association; American Hotel & Lodging Association; American Society of Association Executives; Asian American Hotel Owners Association; International Association of Exhibitions and Events; National Restaurant Association; National Retail Federation; Society of Independent Show Organizers; U.S. Chamber of Commerce; and U.S. Travel Association.
The U.S. was one of only two destinations in the top dozen global markets to see a decline in long-haul inbound travel since 2015. The drop stands in stark contrast to other large economies around the world. Notable among the countries whose tourism shares have recently grown include France, Germany, Spain and China. That trend bodes poorly for U.S. performance in trade and job creation. Travel is a Top 10 employer in 49 states and the District of Columbia, and international travel is the country’s No. 1 service export and No. 2 export overall.
In the coming weeks, Visit U.S. will advance policy recommendations that support its shared objectives with the Trump administration.
“Travel and tourism is our country’s second largest export and we can’t afford to lose ground to other countries,” said American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) President and CEO Katherine Lugar. “Fewer visitors means fewer hotel stays, fewer meals eaten in our restaurants, fewer goods purchased in our retail stores, and fewer visits to our national attractions. It also means fewer American jobs and a loss to our economy. We are committed to working together with the Administration to balance a welcome message with strong security to ensure we don’t fall behind to other countries.”