PORTLAND, Ore., March 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Travel Oregon's CEO, Todd Davidson, today joined travel industry leaders from across the country at the White House as they gathered to discuss the priorities of the travel and tourism industry in the United States. Davidson was invited to advise senior White House and Administration officials on how the ease of international travel will have a positive impact on businesses, states and regions. Other participants in the discussion included Dr. Mark Doms, Under Secretary of Economic Affairs, U.S Department of Commerce; Ken Hyatt, Acting Under Secretary, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce; Chris Thompson, President and CEO of Brand USA; Ali Mayorkas, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Bruce Andrews, Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Commerce; Jonathan Jarvis, Director, National Park Service; Sam Brown, Director White House Business Council and other influential tourism executives and federal administrators.
"International travel is incredibly important to Oregon's economy, as well as the nation's economy," said Davidson. "With Oregon's world-class culinary scene, abundant outdoor experiences and tax-free shopping, we're attracting more and more international travelers every year. We know that international visitors tend to stay longer and spend more money, making them a key market contributing to the overall economic impact tourism has on the state. In 2013, tourism injected $9.6 billion to the Oregon economy and directly employed nearly 94,000 Oregonians. To build on this success, we are urging policymakers to support critical proposals to boost travel, such as the JOLT Act, which would increase international spending in the United States and Oregon and create more jobs."
Administration officials gave an update on the economy and discussed how the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other Agencies work to facilitate and support America's travel and tourism industry while protecting our borders. Additionally, the briefing included a discussion on ways to improve travelers' experiences by upgrading our airports and other points of entry. Industry leaders also led panels on infrastructure development and travel promotion.
International tourism is a vital component of the nation's economy. According to the Commerce Department, inbound international travel to the U.S. is one of the fastest growing exports in the country. In 2013, travel exports increased by 9.1 percent to a record $180.7 billion dollars. By contrast, other U.S. exports edged up just 2.3 percent in 2013, much slower than in 2012. As a result of growing so much faster than other exports, the travel industry generated 25 percent of the overall increase in U.S. exports in 2013. This from an industry that makes up 8.6 percent of total U.S. exports overall.
Travel Oregon's most recent VisaVue® Travel report shows that international spending in Oregon increased 6.2% in 2013, with China and Brazil continuing to show double-digit growth. Oregon's current top international markets according to visitation numbers are (in order): Canada, Japan, the U.K., China, Germany, Australia, Scandinavia, South Korea, Mexico, France, Brazil, India, Benelux and Italy.
The Oregon Tourism Commission, dba Travel Oregon, works to enhance visitors' experience by providing information, resources and trip planning tools that inspire travel and consistently convey the exceptional quality of Oregon. The commission aims to improve Oregonians' quality of life by strengthening economic impacts of the state's $9.6 billion tourism industry that employs nearly 94,000 Oregonians. www.TravelOregon.com
 Travel Oregon estimates are based on and extrapolated from aggregate card usage data provided by VisaVue® Travel. They incorporate data from other independent research sources. Spending amounts and patterns are based on face-to-face Visa card transactions in Oregon. Transactions utilizing cash, pre-paid, phone, internet, and other credit/debit cards are not included. Conversion factors are used to extrapolate arrivals, but spending per visitor is in its raw form (only Visa card purchases). Amounts on this sheet are rounded, with associated rounding errors. All calculations are done on un-rounded data.
SOURCE Travel Oregon