View Full Version : Businesses form partnership to promote, improve U.S. image

09-14-2006, 05:16 AM
Originally posted by Travel Weekly by Michael Milligan - September 14 2006
Businesses form partnership to promote, improve U.S. image

WASHINGTON -- Travel industry businesses ranging from Anheuser-Busch to Walt Disney World & Resorts have teamed together to form the Discover America Partnership in an effort to both alert policy makers on Capitol Hill of America's waning image overseas and offer strategies to improve it.

The partnership's key objective is to educate policymakers on the travel industry and how it can play a role in international diplomacy.

"The role that industry can play economically is understood and appreciated," Geoffrey Freeman, the Partnership's executive director told TravelWeekly.com. "But the role it can play in public diplomacy is not recognized and not appreciated and it is our job to make policy makers appreciate it."

The partnership, which launched during a press conference on Capitol Hill Sept. 13, dovetails with several efforts by the travel industry to raise the issue with policy makers.

The efforts officially began with the World Travel & Tourism Council convention in Washington last April and continued this month with the presentation of a 38-page "Restoring America's Travel Brand" report delivered to Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez on Sept. 5 and then with the Travel Leadership Summit on Sept. 12, during which travel industry representatives met with members of Congress.

Among other things the industry believes the government should, in a post-9/11 environment, secure U.S. borders, but at the same time remain welcoming to inbound visitors.

"We live in an environment where there are risks and rewards," Freeman said. "Currently, all of the risk is associated with travel and all the reward is associated with security. We need to get into a debate -- we need to create a debate -- where there is reward associated with travel. We need to insert ourselves into that debate. We need to make policy makers listen to us."

The travel industry contends that there has been an unintended consequence resulting from a growing world perception that the U.S. government is more interested in security and less interested in welcoming visitors.

According to a study released last May conducted by Pew Research, in most nations, favorable opinion of the U.S. is far below 50%.

Certain U.S. government policies, including visa restrictions and the war in Iraq have contributed to the decline in overall opinion, the study said.

The travel industry contends that the world's view of the U.S. would improve if the U.S. did more to encourage inbound tourism.

"The Pew study shows that feeling for Americans is far above the favorability of America," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the Travel Industry Association during the press conference. "Favorability [of both Americans and America] skyrockets ... when people have visited this country. They return home feeling 42% better [about the U.S.] than folks who have never been here. If you were an automobile [manufacturer] and folks told you that if someone test drove your car, that they would feel 42% better about your brand, wouldn't you [encourage] test drives?"

Sensing the U.S. no longer welcomes visitors, many international travelers have gone elsewhere. As a result, America's share of the global travel market has declined. It is estimated that, as a result, the U.S. lost $43 billion in inbound tourism related revenue in 2005 alone.

The economics of the travel and tourism industry is not the only thing being affected by the way other's see the U.S.

"The world's diminishing view of America has very real consequences not only for American business in general and for travel and tourism in particular, but for the nation's overall security," said Jonathan Tisch, chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels and chairman of the Travel Business Roundtable...Go to Businesses form partnership... (http://www.travelweekly.com/articles.aspx?articleid=53038) to read the entire article.

[Travel Weekly requires free registration to read the entire article.]

09-14-2006, 04:44 PM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Ned @ Sep 14 2006, 06:16 AM) 36977</div>
Go to Businesses form partnership... (http://www.travelweekly.com/articles.aspx?articleid=53038) to read the entire article.

[Travel Weekly requires free registration to read the entire article.]

Hey, Ned...
This story smells of "spin" to me.

The U.S. is losing hundreds of billions of dollars in income monthly, with engineering and manufacturing programs going to the Indian subcontinent, and publicists tell us that the worldwide traveler perceptions of our country are cheating us of $43 billion a year in tourist dollars?

Personally I'm not ready to digest this bit of research; whether it comes from Pew, J.D. Powers, Consumer Reports, Readers Digest or the White House.

Making, then justifying the U.S. as a "service" based economy in the new world order, is all fraud to me. :angry: