The Pew Global Attitudes Project has revealed that “America’s global image has again slipped and support for the war on terrorism has declined even among close U.S. allies like Japan.“Roger Dow, President and CEO, Travel Industry Association of America, has reacted to the survey:
“Pew’s latest survey sends a stark message: America’s image is in crisis. Our nation is increasingly viewed with distrust. The implications - economic and diplomatic - are considerable.
There are major issues impacting our global standing, such as the ongoing fight against terrorism and conflict in Iraq. But solutions do not need to be limited to these areas. In fact, we need to find a different way to present ourselves to the world - one that goes beyond the headlines of the day.
We embrace 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. The more international travelers that come to the U.S., the more ambassadors we create for our country. 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.
But, like public opinion of the U.S., our share of the expanding global travel market continues to decline - more than 36 percent in the last 15 years.
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 improvingAmerica’s image, there is no substitute for experiencing our country.”