Friday, 16 January 2004

How to encourage visitors to come to the USA

I was (not?) amused to receive a press release today from the “Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce”, informing me of the progress of the government’s U.S. Promotion Campaign .

The USA has been one of the few countries without a government department or budget for the promotion of tourism. So the tourism industry welcomed the appropriation of US$50 million in February 2003 for “an international advertising and promotional campaign to encourage individuals to travel to the United States.” That’s a small fraction of the US$10 billion predicted budget for the US-VISIT visitor surveillance and tracking program, but it still seemed like a positive step.

A year after receiving the appropriation, the DOC is proud to report that… a request for proposals has been issued and the first grants may be awarded as soon as next month.

If you’d like to learn more, “The U.S. Department of Commerce has set up a U.S. Promotion Campaign reading room for the public.” It’s open only by appointment, and if you go, “Please note to enter a federal government building you must have a drivers’ license, passport, or other government issued picture ID.”

Dare I suggest that a more effective way for the government of the USA to “encourage individuals to travel to the United States” would be for the government of the USA to treat them like guests when they arrive, rather than like suspected terrorists?

Link | Posted by Edward on Friday, 16 January 2004, 15:26 ( 3:26 PM)

This is correct. Tourists are unlikely to want to visit the U.S. if they run the risk of being fingerprinted upon arrival and perhaps refused admission by some petty bureaucrat. If you think this is an exaggeration, read what happened to a mainstream Australian female journalist in LAX last month:

I doubt if being turned away by the Homeland Security crew qualifies for compensation from most travel insurance companies.

Posted by: David Stanley, 18 January 2004, 19:56 ( 7:56 PM)
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