Declining share of the international travel pie

Yesterday’s news release of Department of Commerce data reveals that the United States continues to suffer from a decline in overseas arrivals despite a worldwide boom in international travel and an extraordinarily favorable exchange rate. The news item notes that the US welcomed two million fewer overseas visitors in 2007 than in 2000. That dismal achievement by the US was managed despite a 10 percent increase over 2006.

The US is the “world’s travel bargain” as noted by the President of the Travel Industry Association (as compared to, for example, UK hotels) and there are enormous benefits brought to the country by each visitation from a foreign guest. Many reasons, from the political to the logistical, have been advanced for the decline but anecdotal accounts of perceptions of the US entry process from both visitors and the trade at the recently concluded tourism conference in Berlin continue to be negative. Perhaps a concerted effort of the stakeholders from the industry to support the Travel Promotion Act” would help reverse some of that decline in overseas travel. If it became law, it would promote a travel promotion campaign that, hopefully, would do a better job of informing potential foreign tourists of the complex and thorny travel policies in place and assure them that they are, indeed, welcome to come to the US.

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Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.