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First Coordinated Marketing Campaign to Sell American Tourism Launches in May

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Two recent articles covered updates on the United States’ new marketing program to lure international tourists, a first time endeavor prompted by the 2010 Travel Promotion Act which was largely supported by the national tourism industry. According to the article in The New York Times, the passage of the act follows more than a six percent drop in America’s total share of international visits between 2000 and 2010, one that the U.S. Travel Association credits the loss of billions of dollars of revenue for the country. Additionally, the article cites that for every 35 foreign tourists, one American job is created, making the travel industry a potential driver for economic recovery.

The act resulted in the creation of a non-profit marketing organization called Brand USA, which is financed by a $14 entrance fee from every visitor to the U.S. that is not required to obtain a visa, along with private money raised from travel businesses such as major resort and entertainment chains (Marriott International, Best Western International and Walt Disney Company are all on board for $1 million each so far). According to the NY Times article, Brand USA’s goal is to raise $150 million in such investment:

 The competition to attract foreign tourists includes nine countries that spend from $50 million to more than $150 million annually to promote themselves: Australia ($106.7 million), Canada ($91.9 million), France ($96.0 million), Germany ($50.8 million), Italy ($56.6 million), Mexico ($173.8 million), South Korea ($80.5 million), Turkey ($96.8 million) and Britain ($160 million).

“We’re the last to the party,” said Chris Perkins, chief marketing officer for Brand USA. […]

The focus of Brand USA is to market the United States as a destination that includes a variety of experiences, he added. “We’re selling the whole and not the parts, the belief system, and the ideal as well as the destination,” he said. “We’re partnering with different states, regions and attractions.”

Perkins was also quoted in a Los Angeles Times article around the new campaign:

“Those that can’t donate those dollars still benefit from the overall campaign,” said Chris Perkins, chief marketing officer for the campaign. “By selling the whole nation, they all stand to benefit.”

For more detailed info on the background of Brand USA and its initial goals and steps, please read the entire articles:

Selling America Abroad by Harriet Edleson, in The New York Times

First coordinated U.S. tourism campaign to launch in May by Hugo Martin, in Los Angeles Times

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