Money isn’t necessarily the answer

By | Category: Travel rumblings

In the past I have written about the amount of money that Brand USA has to spend on promoting tourism around the world to the travel trade and people like you and me so that we are lured to visit the USA. It is over $300 million each year.

Brand USA symbol

The EU has looked enviously at this figure and attempted to set up some pan European levy to be able to offer something similar but has yet to succeed.

It may now want to think again.

Why?

Because the USA has been losing its share of global tourism. Once closer to 14%, the figure is now below 12% meaning that is has lost about 15% of all its tourism just in the space of a few years. Yet this was at a time when it spent more money than most countries let along cities could afford on tourism.

It also shows that money alone won’t buy either my or your decision making to visit the country.

Yet the US Travel Association is calling more the legislation that allows Brand USA to function to be re-authorised.

If it is so then someone needs to take a long hard look at why the US has failed to maintain its position given its huge spend.

One reason to consider is the value of the dollar. It has appreciated against the euro and the pound so people living in the relevant countries will find it more expensive to visit the USA. As has been shown by the recent rise in visitors to the UK (where the pound is weak) the rate at which currencies trade is an influencer on holidays regardless of how much money you sling at encouraging tourists.

Secondly new stories affect whether people travel so the gun attacks in El Paso as well as the previous ones this year will have deterred travellers from considering the USA.

Discounting the importance of politics and how a country is perceived will also play a point.

Finally, my last point is that Brand USA needs to question the effectiveness of its marketing programme. When did readers last see an image of the USA that remained with them? The last I can recall is the Visit California campaign and that was run by the state not Brand USA.

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