America Attempts to Counteract Negative Stereotypes Among Tourists


(eTN) – Politics aside, very few would argue that the Bush years have been good for American tourism. As worldwide perception of America has grown more negative in response to U.S. involvement in Iraq and the sometimes cavalier, always controversial foreign policy of the Bush Administration, tourism has suffered inasmuch as the United States has not been known as the friendliest or most popular girl on the block in recent years.

A new film called I Am America hopes to change that perception. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen P. Hughes and Keith Reinhard, President of Business for Diplomatic Action, yesterday premiered the film I am America at the Foreign Press Center in New York.

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Touted as a gift from the American business community to the U.S. Department of State, the film was produced with the hope of creating a welcoming impression of the United States for international travelers applying for visas. The new film will run in the waiting areas of more than 200 American embassies and consulates around the world.

Set to a score of “America the Beautiful”, the film opens with the question: “Who is America?” Interspersed in footage of the American countryside, cityscapes, and national monuments, Americans of different ages, races, ethnicities, religions and gender answer: “I am America.” There was, however, no mention in a U.S. State Department press release about the film of same-sex couples or gay Americans providing their answer to the ‘Who is America?’ question.

“By showing many welcoming American faces and taking visitors on a breath-taking visual tour of our country, this film should help counteract some of the negative stereotypes about America,” said Karen Hughes, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. “We appreciate the generous contributions and collaboration of the business community to help America present a more welcoming face to the world.”

The film was created by GSD&M’s Idea City, an advertising and communications company based in Austin, Texas.