SALEM, Ore., Sept. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In January 2012 the President issued an Executive Order that laid out a strategy to increase international travel to the United States. Yesterday, the White House released a report from the Departments of State and Homeland Security highlighting the efforts underway and progress made towards reaching the President's goal of boosting the travel and tourism industry in the U.S.
Todd Davidson, CEO of the Oregon Tourism Commission (dba Travel Oregon), is helping to implement the White House initiatives in his role as the chair of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, a position to which he was appointed by the Secretary of Commerce in January 2012. The Advisory Board guides the Secretary of Commerce in implementing the National Travel & Tourism Strategy in order to capitalize on the booming global travel market. Designed to make it more efficient for international travelers to visit and experience the nation's attractions, the program holds the potential to generate 1 million new jobs over the next decade if the U.S. increases its share of the international travel market.
"I'm encouraged because we stand at a threshold where we can state unequivocally and unapologetically that America's travel and tourism industry is a primary driver of our nation's economy," said Davidson.
The U.S. tourism and travel industry is a substantial component of U.S. GDP and employment, contributing $1.4 trillion in economic activity and 7.5 million jobs in 2011, as said in the report. Additionally, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, international travel resulted in $153 billion in U.S. exports in 2011, an 8.1 percent increase from 2010, and is the nation's largest service export industry. This positive trend has continued throughout 2012 with international tourists spending $13.7 billion in the United States in July 2012 alone, up $350 million or 3 percent from the same month the previous year, and travel and tourism-related exports increasing, on average, more than $1.1 billion a month during the first seven months of 2012.
According to the travel industry and Bureau of Economic Analysis, international travel is particularly important as overseas or "long-haul" travelers spend on average $4,000 per visit, which in turn supports and leads to additional travel and tourism-related jobs.
Other key highlights from the Executive Order Progress Report are:
- Visa Processing Capacity Up, Wait Times Down (e.g. A decline from 140 days for an interview to now only two days in Sao Paulo. In China, interview- wait times average only five days.)
- Continued Expansion of Visa Waiver Program
- 1.5 Million People Now Enrolled in Trusted Traveler or Expedited Screening Programs
- Improvements in the Traveler's Experience
- Expanding Partnerships with Industry
In Oregon, the tourism industry in is an $8.8 billion industry that employs more than 92,000 Oregonians; in 2011 more than 2,000 jobs were created.
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 $8.8 billion tourism industry that employs nearly 92,000 Oregonians. www.TravelOregon.com
SOURCE Travel Oregon