The successful Global Travel & Tourism Summit attended by more than 700 travel ministers and industry leaders this week affirms the need for the U.S. to adopt a national travel and tourism policy and create a sustained international marketing campaign to attract travelers to the U.S. from around the globe, key U.S. travel industry leaders said today.

Jonathan Tisch, Chairman of the Travel Business Roundtable and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Loews Hotels; Jay Rasulo, 2006 TIA National Chair and Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts; Roger J. Dow, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Travel Industry Association of America; and Vincent A. Wolfington, Chairman of the World Travel and Tourism Council, jointly endorsed the call to action to make the U.S. more competitive with other nations as a destination.

“The Rice-Chertoff Initiative announced in January to renew America’s welcome to the rest of the world has been an outstanding step and was supported by travel industry leaders from throughout the world,” Tisch said. “At the same time, it’s clear from the titles of the Summit attendees alone that governments around the world recognize the value of travel and tourism. It’s time for the U.S. to likewise pursue a national travel and tourism policy of our own that can unleash our industry’s best potential to help America.”

Rasulo said, "This Summit leaves no doubt that the national travel and tourism policy we have been asked to recommend to (U.S. Commerce) Secretary (Carlos) Gutierrez in the coming months must include programs to ease facilitation of visitors to the U.S. and the creation of a significant and sustainable international marketing campaign. If we find the right approach and commitment, millions of jobs, billions in revenues and an improved U.S. image around the world will be the reward."

Dow said, “No industry is better positioned to help America than travel and tourism. We can play a unique role as an engine for prosperity and a partner in our diplomatic efforts around the world. Research consistently indicates people are significantly more inclined to feel good about America after visiting and experiencing our country’s values, diverse peoples and opportunities.”

Wolfington added, “The CEO-level travel leaders and travel ministers from around the world have viewed firsthand our government’s enthusiasm toward international visitors. A more open and welcoming policy and a more competitive approach that promotes a robust travel industry in America is only good news for travel all over the world.”

The World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit included representatives from some 60 countries who participated in three days of high-level discussions about travel and tourism. Among the summit participants were U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Commerce Gutierrez and Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes.

Key Facts To Consider:

U.S. market share of international travel is at an all-time low. Since 1992…

- U.S. market share has dropped 35% (between 1992 and 2004).
- Losing market share has cost the U.S. economy $286 billion in revenue.
- Federal, state and local government would have an extra $48 billion in tax revenue if we had maintained our market share.
- nternational visitation creates jobs, economic growth, and tax revenue.

Every 1% increase in international market share equals:

- 151,000 new jobs
- $12.1 billion in expenditures
- $2 billion more in tax revenues

Related Link: Travel Industry Association of America (TIA)