The International Coalition of Tourism Partners wants America to be great again in travel and tourism. Tonights State of the Union address by US President Donald Trump has a message the president is famous for: Put America first!
According to data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce, a drop in international visitors to the United States by close to 700,000 in the first quarter of 2017 was reported compared to the previous year. European countries were down 10.1 percent, and Mexico was off 7.1 percent in the quarter. The largest drops were from the Middle East and Africa, though they represent a much smaller percentage of overall travel to the United States.
Overall, 697,791 fewer foreigners visited the United States in the first three months of the year, down 4.2 percent to 15.8 million. This development over the course of 2017 constitutes a loss of spending of 4.6 billion US Dollars,
As points of comparison, the first quarter of 2013, after the re-election of Barack Obama, international tourism was up 6.4 percent, and the first quarter of 2009, after President Obama’s first election (and during the global recession that began at the end of 2008), it was down 14.3 percent.
In addition, 40,000 American jobs were lost in the United States due to the tourism downfall. If it wasn’t for UAE based Emirates and Etihad Airline companies and Qatar Airways the missing jobs were higher. All three airlines are keeping the US airline manufacturer Boening very busy.
Putting America’s travel and tourism business first means also to appreciate global tourism. Tourism is the number one export in many US regions, including the State of Hawaii and for a big part Florida, California, Guam, Louisiana, Colorado, New York City, just to name some.
“America First” means to keep international customers including the three large airlines in the UAE and Qatar happy and encouraged to buy American.
The Chairman of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) Juergen Steinmetz had this to suggest after US President Donald Trump Sate of the Union address on Tuesday night.
“America first means to hire enough border enforcement officers for airports to avoid hours of waiting for our foreign visitors, it means to keep visa policies flexible and implement electronic options, hire more visa officers, so we can start competing with the rest of the world and not make our visitors angry before they even arrive.
This is specifically true when it comes to international MICE business. An international convention in the United States is often a challenge when participants cannot get here due to visa challenges. It leaves many of our beautiful and expensive to maintain convention centers deserted, Honolulu is a good example.
Offering a first world standard for hotels, transportation, roads is something the U.S. is lacking behind compared to many parts of the world.
Staying in a US hotel, flying a US airline should not automatically mean a lower grade of service.
Walking our tourism roads as an international tourist and seeing Americans having to ask for money or food, or homeless people sleeping on the sidewalk with their kids are not putting Americans first. It also bites into the revenue our travel and tourism industry could generate. Fixing this problem may be cheaper compared to the loss travel and tourism is suffering because of the problem. This is specifically true in the State of Hawaii or cities like San Francisco for example.
Mr. President, there is a lot to do for America to be first. Let us make America a friendly, welcoming destination again and a global leader in the travel and tourism industry. Allow the United States to sit on the table at UNWTO and other internationally accepted organizations, so we have a voice.
Stop making America a laughing stock in the world and realize proven international problems like climate change. How can America be first if we deny such issues?
Many of our hard-working travel and tourism professionals want America to be first because their jobs depend on it.
Here is a tip: The U.S. is no longer the second-most popular traveling destination. (France is first, followed by Spain)