U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement on the National Travel and Tourism Offices release of international inbound visitation and spending numbers following a six-month suspension to fix anomalies in data collected from Customs and Border Protection:
NTTO and CBP both deserve tremendous credit for working diligently to ensure we have an accurate government data picture of international visitation. Travel businesses depend on good numbers to plan and budget for things like marketing activities and expansion, so while its been a long few months without official visitation figures, working from compromised data is far worse than having no data at all.
The NTTO numbers released today are basically in agreement with the inbound analysis U.S. Travels economists have been putting together these last few months. The data picture is properly viewed through a certain lens: while raw visitation figures have been slowly rising, they are not keeping pace with the explosive growth we are seeing in travel and tourism worldwide. U.S. market share has eroded, which means we are not adequately harnessing global travel growth to keep adding jobs and exports to the U.S. balance sheet.
For a place thats as natural a draw for visitors as the U.S., the healthy global travel market represents a tremendous economic opportunity. Policymakers can take full advantage of it by supporting the Brand USA tourism marketing agency and working to enhance and expand secure visa programs.