Why Doesn’t the US Appeal?

By | Category: Travel destinations, Travel rumblings

Have we lost our appetite for travelling to the USA? Figures released by the US government this week show that 1% fewer of us visited the country last year compared to 2009. What’s 1% you might say. That’s neither here nor there and can easily be made up. But the government also produced figures to show that over the last decade, the number of us travelling had dropped by 18% compared to the 1990’s. Only one other country, Japan had a higher drop over the decade.

Why might this be so?

After all we speak the same language, have similar backgrounds and attitudes and there is that thing politicians love to talk about – “the special relationship.” This is not to say that a lot of us don’t visit the country. We still make up one of the largest groups of visitors. Are the figure hiding the fact that there is growth in some destinations but they mask deep drops elsewhere? Overall, though, the numbers are dropping and when the drop is from a high level there must be an answer as to why?

Is boredom an issue? I mean boredom from the point of view that having “seen” the USA, fewer of us feel that we need to go back. If that is the case, then US destinations and attractions need to highlight things that are new and different, things that we cannot see elsewhere like native American culture for example
Is cost the answer? Are other countries more competitive? By and large, unless you are in New York, accommodation costs are reasonable as is the price of food. Car hire is not that expensive and attractions entry costs are on a par with the UK. Travelling on subways and rail where it is available is cheaper than a lot of the UK and a heck of a lot cheaper than using public transport in London. (Isn’t almost everywhere?) So if cost is an issue it must be air fares or the taxes and bits and bobs that are added on. Air Passenger Duty must be having an impact on recent prices as APD has doubled over the last few years. Air fares have risen. This year some airlines have had half a dozen small increases alone. So cost should be one factor that needs thought.

Is the lure of the unknown more appealing? Are we becoming more adventurous in our choice of holidays? Is it that America seems to be too similar to us and we now prefer countries with different sights and languages? Are we spoilt for choice? As more countries open up do we prefer to visit them?
Whatever the reason, the big promotions from the US and individual destinations this year will be trying to reverse the trend.

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