As America’s image around the world slips, the industry with perhaps the most at stake, the travel industry, is looking to improve it.
“America’s image is in crisis,” Roger Dow, president and chief executive officer at the Travel Industry Association of America, said in a news release this week. He was responding to a recently released survey by Pew Research Center that found that the U.S. is viewed less favorably throughout Europe and Asia than it was a year ago. “Our nation is increasingly viewed with distrust. The implications—economic and diplomatic—are considerable.”
While the ongoing fight against terrorism and conflict in Iraq are the major issues impacting the U.S.’s global standing, the solutions aren’t limited to these areas, Dow said. “We need to find a different way to present ourselves to the world—one that goes beyond the headlines of the day.”
He said that TIAA embraces Under Secretary of State Karen Hughes’ recent call for enhanced ‘people-to-people’ communications. “It is the American people who represent the best of America—our ideals, spirit, and way of life. Unfortunately, the American people are underutilized in the battle of ideas.”
Travel and tourism presents a unique opportunity to empower the American people to do what they do best: represent America. “Studies consistently show that people from other countries who visit the U.S. leave with a significantly higher opinion of our nation and our people than those who have never been here. It is time for policymakers to embrace travel and tourism and recognize its potential to boost our image around the globe. When it comes to improving America’s image, there is no substitute for experiencing our country.”
Over the last 15 years, the U.S.’s global share of the travel market has dropped 36 percent, according to TIAA data.