Visitation is up—but not enough. We have a lot of ground to make up to get even close to the market share we once enjoyed more than 10 years ago. In fact, between 2000 and 2010 the U.S. share of international arrivals dropped 36% (from a market share of 17% to 12.4%). The associated economic costs of that decline are estimated to be a loss of 78 million visitors, $606 billion in spending, and support for 467,000 jobs annually.
The United States continues to regain lost market share. While the standalone results clearly demonstrate the success of Brand USA initiatives, global market share analysis adds additional perspective on our impact. The collective efforts of Brand USA and the travel and tourism industry have propelled the United States ahead of the global average since 2010. Nevertheless, the United States still has a long way to go to regain the market share that was conceded during “The Lost Decade,” a period after 9/11 during which the USA lost 30% of its global long haul market share.
One reason for the significant decline is because the United States did not have a nationally coordinated collaborative marketing effort. In fact, the USA was the only industrialized country without a program like this in place. Other countries have spent a tremendous amount of money (of more than $100 million to $200 million a year) running successful tourism efforts for years. Brand USA’s marketing efforts resulted in millions of new international visitors who spent billions of dollars in the U.S., which created tens of thousands of new jobs across the nation.
Absent the industry’s specialized, coordinated efforts to attract additional international visitors, the United States would have continued ceding more share to other tourism markets around the world. For each measure of progress, we are not only counteracting, but outpacing a current that flows against us.