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Analysis of American Tourism Problems and Suggestions

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Analysis of American Tourism problems and Suggestions

Nessie Shi May 8, 2013

This article main focuses on the problem and suggestions of current American tourism. Though analysis the history and current situation of America tourism, the article points out three problems the America tourism exist. Then the article indicates some suggestions to resolve the problems. The America tourism developed from 1790, and stand at the maturity stage now. It has rich tourism resource, such as the park, the museum, the theme park, the internet system, and developed transportation system and so on. However, the result is not the best in the world. Even though the America tourism is mature compare with more countries, it also has some problems because the special country condition. Such as the economy problem, security problem, visa problem and medial tourism problem. The article gives some suggestion aimed at each problem.

Introduction “Tourism is the number-one service that we export. And that means jobs.” “More money spent by more tourists means more business can hire more workers.” President Obama announced when he went to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida January 19, 2012. (Laura, 2012). According to the statistic from the government, tourism and travel account is 2.7% of US gross domestic product (GDP) and support 7.5 million jobs. Generated $1.9 trillion in economic impact, with $813 billion spent directly by domestic and international travelers that spurred an additional $1.1 trillion in other industries. It directly generated $124 billion in tax revenue for local, state and federal governments. (ITA Office of Trabel & Tourism Industries, 2012).There is no doubt that tourism industry has huge effect for one country’s economy. Tourism industry is linked with a lot of other industries. For example, the Disney world, it is not just a theme park. It supplies hotel, restaurant, and merchandise too. Those accessories are important parts of Disney revenue. The merchandise industry is linked with manufactory industry, and the manufactory industry is linked with the material industry. This is a long chain and every segment is influenced by and influencing other segments. In addition, the transportation industry is linked with tourism industry in huge degree. Tourism industry belongs to service industry, which always faces the final customers. It can make process effects. So improve the tourism industry to improve the economy is an important way. According to the International Trade Administration (ITA) of the US Department of Commerce, the US welcomed 62 million international visitors in 2011. Those visitors spent more than $ 153 billion throughout the United States, up more than $19 billion from 2010. In adulation, the travel and tourism exports accounted for 25% of US services exports and 7% of all US exports. The US enjoys a $42 billion tourism trade balance surplus. From the statistics, there is no doubt that the international tourists are important to the US tourism industry. The US government has made some efforts to promote the tourism in the past years, and the result is optimistic. In 2011, The American tourism dominant 6.4% share of world travel market and the rank is third in the world, ahead of Spain and France. According to Appendix A, Table 1 and Chart 1, when compare with 2000 years, the world market share was decreased 1.1%. There is still tremendous potential space to developing US tourism industry, especially the international tourism industry. Recognizing the US tourism problems is meaningful. This study based on the earlier studies result and analysis of current situation of US tourism, analyze the international tourism problems of US and put some suggestions to resolve the problems, Background The US tourism was birthed in the early 1790s in the small upstate New York settlement of Ballston. And has good development after birthed. At 19th century, the urban tourism in American begin rising, and the travel agents were rise during 1870s and 1880s. (Sears, F. 1998). The development of the transportation is an important element of the development of tourism. The link between the cities made the travel easier. (Standeven, J,1999). At 20th century, the development of economy led the tourism become a common part of people life, not just for the “high level”. (Cocks C, 2001). And some new tourism products were appearing, such as the leisure hotel, motel, Walt Disney World Resort. (Grant, K & Penland, R. 2003). At 21st century, the development of technology led the tourism walk a new way: Eco-travel. It is more convenient for the travelers and help tourism industry has some improvement. But after September 11, 2001 attacks, “Terrorists used four commercial airliners as weapons of destruction; all of them were destroyed in the attacks with 3,000 victims.” (James M, 2003). And affected by the economic crisis in 2007, US tourism was suffering huge influences. US tourism industry has rich tourism resources, include natural, technology, management and so on. Those resources led the America has unique condition to develop its tourism industry. The natural resource main includes six kinds: national parks, national forest parks and national grasslands, museum, national trail system, national trail system, theme parks and golf course. The American has 388 national parks now, covering 84 million acres, and has 28,000 staffs. The travelers of national park nearly 280 million each year. The most famous national parks include Yellowstone National Park, Colorado, Grand Canyon, and Niagara Fall and so on. (Heggie, T. W., & Heggie, T. M. 2009). The America has 155 national forest parks and 20 national grasslands. The park system distributes in 44 states and Puerto Rico as well as undeveloped land, total of 19,100 million acres. They are 8.5% of the total U.S. land area. (Goldstein, B. B. 1992). America is the country with the most museums in the world. It has more than 16,000 large museums. It receives more than 900 million visitors each year. The trail system has three main types: National Scenic Trail, National Historic Trail and National Recreation Trail. The America has 23 scenic trails and national historic sites, and 800 National Recreation Trail. (Chavez, D. J., Tynon, J. F., Harding, J. A., & O'Dell, I. 1999). The America theme park is the originator of the world’s theme park. The first Disney in Los Angeles opened in 1955. Another influential theme park is a regional theme park “SIXFALGS”. It is the world's largest regional theme park company. And the America is the largest golf market. There are nearly 17,000 golf course and about 40 million golfers. The sport and associated industries accounted for 6% of GDP. (Golf Channel Solutions). In addition, the technology and management resources are stronger compare with other countries. “The technology continues providing faster, more targeted ways of sharing information.” (Troin G). The interne became a important channel for the tourism market. America internet tourism system developed fast and it became an important resource for US tourism. The management resource includes the management software, management education and management methods and so on. They are linked with the US commercial management. The security problem Johnrose J (n.d) described that “Peace is the best friend of travel and tourism while war and insecurity are among its worst enemies.” Safety and security are essential considered by travelers when they make a choice. It can determine the success or failure of a tourism destination. As Bomkamp S (2012) have noted, “While tourism has increased globally over the last decade, the U.S. slice of those travelers has fallen, due in large part to complicated visa procedures and heightened security that followed the Sept. 11 attacks.”. The Discover America Partnership (DAP), Freeman also pointed out that when the travel industry “skyrocjets, the US is mired in a slump.” (Savedra J). They noted that the September 11, 2011 is a main reason of the worse situation. According to the DAP, US government’s apprehension and concern about terrorism has led to increasingly more stringent policies and procedures creating paranoid perceptions for potential travelers and leading to a decline in the country’s share of the global travel market. New procedures drove million of international travelers to other countries. For example, More Chinese tourists go to France each year than the US. Most tourists feel unwelcome when they go to US. In a poll about the reason of do not go to US, the result indicated that almost two thirds of travelers think the unwelcome approach by tourism official is a reason not to visit US. (Savedra J). After 2001, the US share of global travel spending had fallen from 17.2% in 2000 to 11.6% in 2010. (The White House, 2012). “Since September 11, 2001, the United States has experienced a 17 percent decline in overseas travel, costing America 94 billion dollars in lost visitor spending, nearly 200,000 jobs and 16 billion dollars in lost tax revenue,” the Discover America advocacy campaign said in a statement. (Warnick R, 2007). Obviously, “it’s more important than ever to get the America back on the minds of consumers.” (Mayock P. 2012). Freeman also indicated that “It is time for Congress to address this growing problem in a way that both strengthens our security and improves the efficiency of the travel process.”(Savedra J). John W. Cavanaugh, President and CEO of Cross Cultural Communications in Columbus, Ohio, a company that consults on multicultural diversity, says easing travel hassles for foreign tourists is critical for the economy. He said that We’re still trying to recover from ... the aftermath of 9/11 attacks, travel is still somewhat onerous here. Every time we have a new threat like the shoe bomber, everyone has to take their shoes off. It becomes very problematic and makes travel very inconvenient. Foreign tourists are sometimes fingerprinted and hassled. We’re still stuck in a war-on-terror mindset. (Elaine) The government and the tourism organization have making some effort to improving America’s image overseas. The DAP presented “A Blueprint to Discover America” in 2006. It required $ 300 million to implement the plan, according to DAP, and said that it is a small price to pay when compared to the $ 16.4 billion in lost tourism revenue since 2001. On May 2012, the Brand USA, a partnership of government agencies and private companies, plans to spend about $12.3 million on the tourism advertising to improve the image. The Stephen J. Cloobeck, the chairman of Brand USA and CEO of Diamond Resorts International said “we're doing we're doing all this with a smile and a sign that says 'Welcome to the United States.'" (Bomkarp S, 2012). And some security organizes were build for resolve the security problems, for example, the US Department of Homeland Security. Even though the government and some organization made the effort to recover the image, the security problem also is a huge bar to for the US tourism industry now. The relative organization need do more effort to resolve this problem. The visa Problem John W. Cavanaugh, Ph.D., President and CEO of Cross Cultural Communications in Columbus, Ohio, a company that consults on multicultural diversity, mentioned that the travel hassles of foreign tourists included “airport security and cumbersome immigration checks”. (Elaine). The visa problem is another huge bar for US tourism industry. For improve the visa problem, the government built a Visa Waiver Program to stimulate the tourism industry. “The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables nationals of 36 participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business (visitor [B] visa purposes only) for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa.” (Travels State Gov). Currently, 36 countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program, as shown at Appendix B,Table 2. In January 19, 2012, president Obama putted out an “Executive Order” to improve the tourism industry and competitiveness. According to the White House (2012), the target of the government is “Increase nonimmigrant visa processing capacity in China and Brazil by 40 percent over the coming year.”, “Ensure that 80 percent of nonimmigrant visa applicants are interviewed within 3 weeks of receipt of application”. Those polices are focus on improve the waiting time and the pass ration for the Visa. However, the complex process and the subjectivity on some degree are main problems for the Visa. For example, the Canada and Mexico are not included in the VWP. According to Appendix B, Table 3, the Top 10 markets, 2010-2011 International visitation, statistic from ITA, the Canada ranked first and the Mexico ranked second in arrive visitors amount. Obviously, the Canada and Mexico have huge potential travelers to US.The complex Visa process and the uncertainty is the most important bars for international travelers. Take Mexico as example, according to the North America Center for Transborder Studies (ASU) analysis, “the lack of federally supported tourism promotion in Mexico can be thought of as a “soft” barrier to increased tourism from that country.” The Mexicans who want to travel to US are required to apply for a Border Crossing Card. Before apply the Border Crossing Card from the US embassy, Mexico nationals are required to obtain a Mexico passport. Then the Mexicans need supply the application, make an appointment and wait for the date to be set for an interview at the consular office. When the set date is arrive, the applicant need take a number of documents to the consular office and talk with the consular employees. The documents and the interview are considered by the consular employee. As the ASU pointed, “This haphazard procedure makes the entire process unclear and inconsistent.” The unclear and in consistent make the travelers are do not want to consider to go to US. And if the application is rejected, the application money is not refund, which often is several hundreds dollars. (P9). Medical tourism problem Medical tourism is a special area in tourism industry. It is other countries’ patients go to another country travel for healthcare. The medical tourism is increasing popularity in recent years. As it becomes more popular, the challenge and competition are increase too. As Moreno R. G. stated, Global challenges exist and a growing trend in healthcare competitiveness abroad will affect U.S. inbound medical travel programs in the future. The U.S. is no longer the only kid on the global stage in specialty healthcare nor is it the sole beneficiary of medical travelers looking for quality care, accessibility and affordability. Over 270 hospitals have been accredited by Joint Commission International in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. (2011) According to the Appendix C, Table 4, the medical tourism destinations are trough whole world. The competition is obviously. But the America does not has enough advantages in medical tourism. The main reasons are the price of US medical is higher than other developed or development countries, if no insurance cover, the Visa, and the undergoing medical procedures, it always need longer waiting time at US than other countries.(Roopreddy M, 2011). According to the statistic in recent years, the outbound medical tourism amount always bigger than inbound medical tourism. (Michael D. 2007). It indicated that medical tourism as an important part of tourism industry, the government must pay more attention to the development of the medical tourism. US loses a huge opportunity to get travel customers because the high medical price and Visa problem. Suggestions Under the recession circumstance, the tourism industry must be influenced. Just like the 20th century, the development of the economy stimulated the tourism industry development. Because the people hold more money or property, they can afford the travel spend. (Cocks C, 2001).So the government should strength the economies stimulate, on the whole. Such as add the financial budget, release loans to business, a lot of people loose their credit because the financial crisis, they can not get the loan from the bank now. It is difficult to them that rebuild their business. If the government relax the loan rules, help those people rebuild their business, it is good for the country economy and good for the employment. (Moses A. & Harrington S.D. 2009).The economy recovers, the people hold more money and more relax time, they will return to go to travel. For the security problem, the government should do more efforts to improve the image. Such as strength the gun control, reduce the criminal rate. The government can push some rules to protect the travelers’ right. The scenery points should strength their security environment, including the equipment security and safe check. For the Visa barrier, the government should improve the rules of the visa, to increase the international travelers. Such as reduce some apply processes, extend the expired years, add embassies quantities or officers, and judge the applicants’ condition objective. And “revamp the processing of tourist visas in many countries to make it fairer, faster and safer while maintaining security standards.” (ASU).The problem of medical tourism is a specific area for current global tourism. It is a good way to improve the tourism industry via improves the medical tourism conditions. Such as short the waiting time, reduce some application processes, and give some discount to the international patients. Conclusion The America has plenty tourism resources, include the natural, technology and management resources. But those resources are not fully utilized because there are some bars to stop the international travelers’ step. The main bars include the security problem and the Visa problem. Especially, the US medical tourism developed slowly and does not has strong competition power because the price, the Visa and the process. If those problems can be resolved, the US tourism will get a huge improvement. The US government tries to resolve those problems now, but the result is not perfect. More efforts are needed for the US tourism. Some ways such as improve the image of US, reduce the Visa process are useful to resolve those problems.

Bomkarp, S. (May 1, 2012). Campaign to encourage US tourism launches. Retrieved from
Baliga, H. (December 23, 2006). Medical tourism is the new wave of outsourcing from India. India Daily. Retrieved from
Cocks, C (2001). Doing the Town: The Rise of Urban Tourism in the United States, 1850-1915, University of California Press, pp. 6–7.
Chavez, D. J., Tynon, J. F., Harding, J. A., O'Dell, I. (1999). America's Best-Kept Secret: The National Recreation Trails. Parks & Recreation, 34(3), 36.
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Heggie, T. W., & Heggie, T. M. (2009). Search and Rescue Trends Associated With Recreational Travel in US National Parks. Travel Medicine, 16(1), 23-27. doi:10.1111/j.1708-8305.2008.00269.x
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Appendix A Table 1
|U.S. Overall World Market Share |U.S. Share of the |Total International Arrivals |
| |World Market |to the U.S. (Millions) |
|2000 |7.5% |51.2 |
|2001 |6.9% |46.9 |
|2002 |6.2% |43.6 |
|2003 |6.0% |41.2 |
|2004 |6.0% |46.1 |
|2005 |6.1% |49.2 |
|2006 |6.0% |51.1 |
|2007 |6.2% |56.0 |
|2008 |6.3% |58.0 |
|2009 |6.2% |55.0 |
|2010 |6.4% |59.7 |
|2011 |6.4% |62.3 |

Source: ITA Office of Trabel & Tourism industries

Chart 1 [pic] Source: ITA Office of Trabel & Tourism industries

Appendix B
|Andorra |Hungary |New Zealand |
|Australia |Iceland |Norway |
|Austria |Ireland |Portugal |
|Belgium |Italy |San Marino |
|Brunei |Japan |Singapore |
|Czech Republic |Latvia |Slovakia |
|Denmark |Liechtenstein |Slovenia |
|Estonia |Lithuania |South Korea |
|Finland |Luxembourg |Spain |
|France |Malta |Sweden |
|Germany |Monaco |Switzerland |
|Greece |the Netherlands |United Kingdom |

Table 2 Visa Waiver Program
Source: Travel. State. Gov.

Table 3 Top International Arrivals 2011 (OTTI)
| |Country of residence |Number of arrivals |Changes from 2010(%) |
|1 |Canada |21,028,177 |5.3 |
|2 |Mexico |13,414,020 |-0.4 |
|3 |United Kingdom |3,835,300 |-0.4 |
|4 |Japan |3,249,569 |-4.0 |
|5 |Germany |1,823,797 |5.7 |
|6 |Brazil |1,508,279 |25.9 |
|7 |France |1,504,182 |12.1 |
|8 |South Korea |1,145,216 |3.4 |
|9 |People's Republic of China (excludes Hong Kong) |1,089,405 |35.9 |
|10 |Australia |1,037,852 |14.8 |
|11 |Italy |891,571 |6.4 |
|12 |Spain |700,183 |9.5 |
|13 |India |663,465 |1.9 |
|14 |Netherlands |601,013 |5.4 |
|15 |Venezuela |561,080 |14.1 |
|16 |Argentina |512,258 |17.4 |
|17 |Colombia |496,814 |0.4 |
|18 |Switzerland |476,502 |22.0 |
|19 |Sweden |438,972 |18.0 |
|20 |Ireland |346,879 |-3.8 |

Source: ITA Office of Trabel & Tourism industries

Appendix C
Table 4 Medical Tourism Destinations*
|Asia/Middle East |The Americas |Europe |Africa |Other |
|China |Argentina |Belgium |South Africa |Australia |
|India |Brazil |Czech Republic |Tunisia |Barbados |
|Israel |Canada |Germany | |Cuba |
|Jordan |Colombia |Hungary | |Jamaica |
|Malaysia |Costa Rica |Italy | | |
|Singapore |Ecuador |Latvia | | |
|South Korea |Mexico |Lithuania | | |
|Philippines |United States |Poland | | |
|Taiwan† | |Portugal | | |
|Turkey | |Romania | | |
|United Arab Emirates | |Russia | | |
| | |Spain | | |


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