Money isn’t necessarily the answer

By | Category: Travel rumblings

US flagThe announcement by the USA that they expect a dip in tourism numbers this year is heartening and disheartening depending on who you are.

For the Americans it is disheartening because they have worked hard ever since Brand USA was set up to present an unified marketing approach to encourage visitors to travel to the USA. But now, a combination – probably – of a high dollar against sterling and the euro, economic woes in Brazil and possible the zika outbreak in Florida has dissuaded people from travelling there.

It is heartening for other non-US destinations which feared that they could not compete with the huge budget that Brand USA has and that just throwing money at tourism would be persuasive in getting people to travel there come what may.

The Brand USA budget for international spend in 2016 will probably be about $140 million give or take a bit which is funded by our applications for ESTA approval to enter the US. On top of that is match funding as well as funding by individual states.

The budget for Visit Britain, Atout France, the German National Tourist Board and Turespaña even allowing for match funding is a lot less. Overseas destinations had been envious of the huge financial resources that Brand USA had in comparison to elsewhere and tourism officials in the EU were said to be considering a similar idea covering EU members.

But all that money has still resulted in a forecasted slump of 700,000 (by the National Travel and Tourism Office) in those travelling in 2016 to the USA compared to 2015. That still equates to 76.8 million international visitors – huge number by any standard It means that money is not always the answer to success; there has to be clever marketing, ingenuity and, yes, probably some luck.

Next year, there is a forecast of  78.6 million overseas visitors which – if achieved – would be the highest that there has ever been.

For all the other destinations in the world, the American experience shows them that money alone cannot guarantee success every year.

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