US: Overseas visitors key to boosting image

Testifying before the U.S. Department of State’s Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy today, Roger Dow, President and
CEO of the Travel Industry Association, encouraged commissioners to
recognize travel and tourism as an untapped vehicle for improving
America’s image around the globe. “America’s image abroad is in crisis right now.  At the same time, we
have an opportunity to reverse this trend - by welcoming more visitors
to our great nation,” Dow told the U.S. State Department Advisory
Commission on Public Diplomacy.

A recently released survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project
(www.pewglobal.org) revealed that America’s
global image has again slipped, even among close U.S. allies like Japan.
The report documented continued erosion of America’s image throughout
Europe, Asia and the Middle East. 

“By bringing visitors to our country, we can share what makes our nation
great - its people, energy and way of life,” Dow said.

 

Although international travel to the United States offers hope for the
nation’s global standing, the country is losing ground to other
countries.  In the last 15 years, U.S. share of the global travel
market has dropped by 36 percent.

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“Research documents the ‘perception boost’ that occurs when someone
visits the United States and experiences our nation first-hand.  Yet we
do little to encourage international travelers to pay us a visit, while
challenging entry requirements give travelers a reason to go somewhere
else.  Making America the international destination of choice is good
diplomatic policy,” Dow advised the Commission.

 

The U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy is a bipartisan panel
created by Congress and appointed by the President to provide oversight
of U.S. Government activities intended to understand, inform, and
influence foreign publics.  The Commission, now in its 57th year, is
responsible for assessing public diplomacy policies and programs of the
U.S. State Department, American missions abroad, and other agencies.
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