White paper on the United States Travel Service

White paper on the United States Travel Service

NATIONAL TOURISM ORGANIZATIONS: ANNALS OF TOURISM RESEARCH Vol. IV, No. 1, September/October 1976 i WHITE PAPER ON THE UNITED STATES TRAVEL SERVICE ...

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NATIONAL TOURISM ORGANIZATIONS:

ANNALS OF TOURISM RESEARCH Vol. IV, No. 1, September/October 1976 i

WHITE PAPER ON THE UNITED STATES TRAVEL SERVICE

Recognized as a vital segment of America's economy, tourism in the USA is estimated to be a $72 billion business, empolying somt 4 million people. and constituting about 5.1% ot the total Gross National Product. International tourism is a s~gnificant part o1 this econolmc category, wilJl every 4 ~, via,tots to this country supporting one American job. Travel to the United States from foreign nations has proven to be a remarkably stable element in the international picture, showing yearly increases for over a decade (despite such influences as the energy crtsas and increasing worldwide inflation). Reflecting the recognit,)n due such an important and growing segment of this nation's balance o. payments,account, the United St:lies Travel Service (USTS) was established in 19ol as tile first Federal agency for development of international tourism in the Un,ted States. Since its inception, USTS" reputation as the anthority on torcign travel to America has grown within the overall travel industry, State agencies, and international tourism organizations--reflecting the increasing respect for the office's professionalism and deligence in its operations. USTS is headquartered in Wahsington, D C. and maintains field offices in six nations: Canada, Mexico, Japan, United Kingdom,West Germany, and France. In addition, the agency conducts limited programs (but does not

ANNALS OF TOURISM RESEARCH, Sept/Oct '76

WHITE PAPER ON THE UNITED STATES T R A V E L SERVICE

maintain field offices) in seven "special market" nations: Australia, Brazil, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Venezuela. OBJECTIVES Established by the 87th Congress, Public Law 87-63, in 1961, The United States Travel Service is this nation's government tourism office, its primary mission is to develop travel to the United States from other countries as a means of contributing to the economic stability and growth potential of the USA-based travel industry, reducing the nation's travel deficit, and promoting friendly understanding and appreciation of the USA. In 1975, USTS received authorization and funding to conduct a domestic tourism promotion program, designed to encourage Americans to travel within their own nation. INTERNATIONAL TOURISM PROMOTION USTS programs for the further development of the USA as a destination for incoming travelers are ultimately aimed ~t strengthening the U.S. economy by increasing foreign exchange earnings. Specifically, Public Law 87-63 charges the Secretary of Commerce, and USTS with the following responsibilities and objectives: a. Develop, plan and carry out a comprehensive program designed to stimulate and encourage travel to the United States by residents of foreign countries for the purpose of study, culture, recreation, business and other activities as a means of promoting friendly undrestanding and good will among peoples of foreign countries and of the United States; b.

Encourage the development of tourist facilities, low cost unit tours, and other arrangements within the United States for meeting the requirements of foreign visitors;

C.

Foster and encourage the widest possible distribution of the benefits of travel at the cheapest rates between foreign countries and the United States consistent with sound economic principles.

In performing these duties, USTS consults and cooperates with individuals, businesses, and organizations engaged in or concerned with international travel, including local, State, Federal, and foreign governments, and international agencies.

ANNALS OF TOURISM RESEARCH, Sept/Oct '76

WHITE PAPER ON THE UNITED STATES TRAVEL SERVICE USTS ORGANIZATION AND INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS The organization chart (see p. 51) reflects the departmental structure through which USTS conducts its Visit USA tourism development mission. Agency programs are best described through a brief discussion of the operation of each of USTS" organizational divisions:

7"he Research and Analysis Division provides the statistical, economic, and market data necessary for the planning and evaluation of USTS programs and prqiects Economic, marketing, and ~tatistical information is obtianed through original research aJld from existing government forms and published reports. I he more specific obieciives ot the Office are as follows: a. It, assess the orig~.l lind volume of current and Iuture demand for travel to the U.S., b. To describe the characteristics of international travelers and trips, both to the U.S. and to competitive destinations, c. to obtain data on special interest travel segments in given markets, d. to improve the quality and comprehensiveness of tourism data, e. to evaluate major USTS programs and their success in reaching their objectives. The Advertising and Promotion Division is instrumental in promoting the USA as a tourism destination through adveritsing, focusing on the nation's affordability as well as the traditional appeal of its beauty and excitement. Campaigns are tailored on a country-by-country basis, determined by each market nation's travel profile. Travel bargains, low-cost air fares, and package tours to the USA are featured through promotion utilizing a wide variety of media, including television, newspapers, and magazines. Office of Advertising and Promotion also provides promotional material and literature to the six USTS field offices. Most publications are issued in English, French, German, Spanish and Japanese. The Media Services t)ivision works through newspapers, magazines, radio, and television in USTS' six market-nations to create greater knowledge of U.S. vacation opportunities and increased interest in the USA as a travel destination. Destination feature packages are the primary tool used to carry out the office's tourism information goal. Packages, published by newspapers or magazines in each nation, include a feature article, fact sheet, photographs, maps, and brochures about a series of attractions throughout the nation related by a common theme, The media Service Division also utilizes the journalist familiarization tour approach to promote international Iruvcl to tile United States, designed to acquaint international journalists (primarily travel writers) with U.S. destinations and travel opportunities and producing U.S. travel articles upon their return to their home n,:'ions. 44.

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WHITE PAPER ON THE UNITED STATES TRAVEL SERVICE

The Marketing Programs Division's primary purpose is to motivate international travel wholesalers to create package tours to the USA. Playing a catalytic role in tour development, the Office of Market Development provides information and destination,expertise in the early stages of a package tour project. Prospective tour wholesalers and the Marketing Programs Division jointly work out details of a tour package. USTS aids in itinerary planning, acts as liaison for international wholesalers and local U.S. suppliers, and arranges "'buying" trips for foreign wholesalers, and book space tot future tour participants. The Marketing Programs Division also administers USTS' familiarization tours, carrying out detailed prepartory work for each tour, coordinating itineraries with state and city co-hosts, arranging ground transportation and accommadations, and supporting "waiver" requests of participating air carriers to the Civil Aeronautics Board.

The Conventions and Expositions Division conducts programs to influence international associations to hold their world congresses in the USA, develops attendance a congresses held in the USA, and promotes the use of Visit USA incentive travel by business firms abroad. Contacts of international associations headquartered overseas are made through the International Congress Office in Paris. The Convention and Expositions Division also maintains up-to-date information on U.S. convention facilities capable of hosting international congresses. Incentive travel, a popular concept with U.S. businesses, is used to build sales, production, and employee morale. Programs generally ~ftcr firstclass vacations as an incentive for increased sales or productivity. USTS' program strategy is to promote the concept of incentive travel among businesses and industrial firms abroad and to encourage use ~f U.S. destination in vacations presented to incentive program "winners". A. The programs of this office also involve:(a)analysis of nearly 3000 U.S., trade shows to determine those of greatest interest abrnad,(b) counseling trade show organizers in ways of structuring their events to attract and assist international attendee~,and (c) promotion of the trade shows abroad through the six USTS field offices and the U.S. foreign commercial services posts around the world. B.

The Conventions and Expostitions Division also evaluates applications of U.S. cities wishing to host international expositions (including world's fairs)~ attends meetings of the Paris-based Bureau of International Expositions, which coordinated international expositions, and thus becomes the focal point for planned by U.S. cities to host such events.

ANNALS OF TOURISM RESEARCH, Sept/Oct "/6

WHITE PAPER ON THE UNITED STATES TRAVEL SERVICE

The Office of State-City Affairs carries out liaison with State and local government travel officials, aimed at encouraging these officials to provide the necessary facilitati,m services for international markets. A prime responsibility ~f this office is also administration of the USTS matching g,ants program. USTS awards funds, on a matching basis, to States, cities and non-profit associations for programs designed to promote tourism to the USA. The Office of/lqarketing and Field Operations manages USTS' sales development program and coordinates the efforts of the agancy's six field offices abroad. This division is responsible for directi,lg the development and monitoring the progress of all field office programs. This department recommends field office budgets, provides developmental sales training for field staff members, and coordinates communications procedures. The Field Offices (based in Canada, Mexico, Japan United Kingdom, West Germany, and France) provide the needed inroads to the travel industries and implement the programs developed. DOMESTIC TOURISM PROGRAM

Authority: On July 9, 1975, United States Travel Service (USTS) ,*,as authorized to conduct a domestic tourism program. This program, designed to encourage Americans to travel within their own country, complements the agency's 15-year-old thrust of promoting international travel to the USA. The enabli"g legislation sh, ted: "The Secretary of Commerce shall encourage, promote and develop travel within the United States, including any Commonwealth, territory and possession thereof, through activities which are in the public interest and which do not compete with activities of any State, city or private agency.

Ohi,,,.tives: To ensure the health and economic vitality of the travel industry and to exercise coordinative leadership by broadening the understanding of tourism and its impact on the economy: To increase total effective demand for travel facilities and services. To ensure cffective utilization of tourism resources: To expand and make available mt'ornlation otl sources of travel data: To secure media placememt of special prepared destination material; To conduct research on domestic Ir~wel patterns and the economic impact of travel in the United States; A,~d to speak out for and on issues affecting travel as an industry. Program Thrusts: USTS' domestic tourism programs fall into two broad categories, Promotion, including advertising, media services and a t'ulfilhu,:,tt program for information in travel opportunities. Research

ANNALS OF TOURISM RESEARCH, Sept/Oct '76

WHITE PAPER ON THE UNITED STATES TKAVEL SEKVICE

and Policy Development,emphasizing development of a firm foundat!on of tourism data and policy studies on which government and private industry can base ongoing programs. a.

PROMOTION: USTS' domestic advertising program is designed to convince Americans to travel in the USA by highlighting major tourism events throughout the country. Public service advertising developed under this program uses radio, television, travel publications, magazines, newspapers, brochures, and displays, as well as mailing house literature distribution. Theme of the advertising campaign is See More of America When There's

So Much More To See. This program includes both the destination-sell and how-to-travel aspects of the domestic program. "'How-to" material features such approaches as how to travel in a fuel-efficient manner and optimal use of natural tourism resources. USTS personnel as well as a professional communications contractor create and distribute material to a wide variety of print and air media. This service provides a non-commercial, single source point from which U.S. travel information can be obtained. A toll-free telephone service serves as the heart of this program. It was opened in May on a test basis to the travel industry, primarily travel agents. b.

RESEAKCH AND POLICY DEVELOPMENT: U S T S domestic research projects are designed to address the critical need foi more precise and consistent information with respest to the volume of tourists, economic impact and composition of the U.S. domestic travel market. USTS will work to expand the national travel survey currently conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Census every five years. USTS researchers will also work to standardize state travel surveys and to obtain a survey of consumer travel expenditures.

USTS will conduct tourism studies as necessary to gauge the economic impact of tourism on employment and the effect of Federal regulation on tourism, as well as prepare necessary background to assist the U.S. Department of Commerce in the development of position papers on issues impacting on the travel industry. KEY USTS ACCOMPLISHMENTS/ACTIVITIES IN 1975 -

The first year of America's Bicentennial Era,

ANNALS OF TOURISM RESEARCH, Sept/Oct '76

1975,

witnessed significant

WHITE PAPER ON THE UNITED STATES TRAVEL SERVICE changes within the United States Travel Service, the U.S. Department of Commerce agency serving as the national Government tourism office. -

USTS came under new leadership during the year, when President Gerald R. Ford nominated Creighton D. Holden to serve as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Tourism.

- The 15-year old agency attained the status o f a full-fledged national tourism office with the addition of a domestic tourism program. Funding received in 1975 efiab4es USTS to encourage, promote and develop travel within the United States through activities which are in the public interest and which do not compete with activities of any State, city or private agency. -

Far from curtailing its traditional efforts in the area of international tourism promotion, USTS maintained its full sphere of operation in the international arena in 1975.

- Strong promotional and trade relations programs continued to operate through US'fS' six field offices. These six market-nations collectively accounted for more than 87% of total international visitors to the United States in 1975 and 65°A of total foreign visitor receipts (excluding transportation). - International program expansion occurred through the identification of seven additional market-nations, above, which rank high in tourism-generating importance. -

Modified tourism development programs were initiated in these seven special markets in 1975. USTS does not maintain field offices in these nations, but rather involves other U.S. government agencies and locallybased representatives of the U.S. havel industry working together as Visit USA Committees. The Visit US/! programs in these special markets are established as part of the Statc and Commerce Departments' Country Commercial Program for each of the seven countries.

- Tile network of Travel Planning Centers established during 1974 in USTS' six primary market-nations was expanded in 1975. The 852 Travel Planning Centers are retail travel agencies abroad who sell USA-bound travel and serve as information offices for the general public interested in travel to tile USA. USTS provides training, U.S. travel reference libraries and promotional literature support to these agencies, which are vita', 'inks between USTS and the traveling public of the six nations. - By virtue of an amendment to the International Act signed into law in early 1075, the Conuuerce Department is charged with encouraging travel 48

ANNALS OF TOURISM RESEARCH', Sept/Oct '76

WHITE PAPER ON THE UNITED STATES TRAVEL SERVICE to and from the United States on United States flag carriers. The United States Travel Service has implemented a number of programs designed to carry out this responsibility under tlae Fly U.S. Flag Program. • USTS has made a special Bicentennial effort on behalf of the program by meeting with representatives of major U.S. air carriers to help coordinate the Bicentennial theme in their marketing strategies. This effort was undertaken in the belief that making American carriers "'more American" will increase utilization of U.S. flag carriers and enable international viaitors to experience America en route as well as upon arrival. USTS field offices abroad cooperated with U.S. flag carriers in co-sponsoring 81 seminars during 1975, attended by more that 6,100 travel agents in six nations. This participation repre~en,ted 44% of all USTS seminars during the year and 41% of total USTS seminar attendance. The seminars were designed to promote U.S.-bound tourism in general and use of U.S. flag carriers for those trips.

Fly U.S. Flag Program involves tile agency's tour development effort. In negotiating contracts with tour wholesalers abroad, which increases the number of visitors to the USA, U.S. flag carriers are given first opportunity to participate in each tour program. In 1975 U.S. flag carriers participated in 36 of the 49 tour contracts between USTS and foreign tour operators--representing 74% of the total.

- One important element in USTS'

- More than 1,700 members of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) visited the USA in 1975 when the association held its Silver Jubilee Convention in Florida. USTS worked closely with the association, whose members are primarily trawl agents and tour operators, in selecting the convention site and in promoting attendence at the meeting. -

ABTA's 1975 Convention marked the first time that lhe organization has left the European continent for an annual conference, and selection of a U.S. meeting venue was viewed as an outstanding opportunity to promote Visit USA tourism from the United Kingdom.

- USTS' tour development program invested $935,000 in 57 contracts with tour wholesalers in the ~x primary,market-nations to develop more package tours to U.S. destinations. Through a new product inspection tour program for foreign tour wholesalers, USTS increased its ability to introduce tour destinations which are relatively unknown abroad, thus opening opportunities for increased international tourism to additional areas of the USA. - The Visit USA Mobile Exhibit began its farewell appearance in 1975, showing the 360-degree film "America, The Beautiful" to audiences in

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49

WHITE PAPER ON THE UNITED STATES TRAVEL SERVICE Mexico City. The six-story, air-supported dome exhibit has carried out its around-the-world mission since 1970 appearing in Osaka, Tokyo, Paris, Guadalajara, Sydney, London and Leningrad. It will be "retired'when its Mexico City appearance ends in 19, ,. - In 1975, USTS began to counsel U.S..cities~ interested in hosting world's fairs in 1980 or 1981. One applicaiton for a 1981 "first category" world's fair was received in the closing weeks of the year and other cities indicated their interest in hosting an international exposition. -

USTS' liaison with international associations resulted in decisions by 26 associations in 1975 to hold world congresses in the USA in future years, bringing the program's six-year total to 109 world congresses obtained for U.S. sites. Thirteen world congresses convinced to select U.S. venues through the program in past years were actually held in this country during 1975. Boosting the program's efforts, two site-selection tours were conducted for selected international association executives, enabling them to survey U.S. congress facilities firsthand. - The agency's efforts to promote iuceu live travel to the USA were intensified in 1975 and the first concrete results ~! lhe program, initmted m mid-1974, were reaped. During the year. iucc~;~.~,' travel programs protnoted by USTS brought 7,531 business-sponsored travelers to the USA, with reported expenditures totaling $4,249,091. - The second annual USTS State Days Conference, which brought together travel officials from 46 states, plus all five U.S. commonwealths and territories, was held in early 1975. Another vital component of USTS' program of slate/city liaison reuslted in the awarding of 64 matching grants totaling $545,390 of states, cities and non-profit organizations for pr¢~iects promoliug, travel to the USA. -Follow-up talks were conducted with Soviet tourism leaders in 1975 as p~lrt of continuing efforts to increase two-way tourism between the two nations. Further talks were scheduled to be held in 1976. - Bicentennial themes were emphasized in LISTS' tourism promotion and visitor lilcililalk}n efforts as this Nation prepared to welcome some 34 million international guests at its 200th birthday celebration in 1975-1976. USTS PUBLICATIONS USTS issues ~ variety of promotional and research publications. The prom¢,tional material, in tile form of brochures, tblders and posters are designed tor use abroad in pronloting tourism to the United States; the Research

50

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W H I T E P A P E R ON T H E U N I T E D S T A T E S T R A V E L S E R V I C E

publications are designed to aid and guide travel promotion of the United States. The brochures, folders, and posters, are available in the English language. as well as French, German, Spanish, and Japanese. The materials arc available to persons in the travel trade, organizaitons, industries, and the general public who are actively promoting travel to the United States or who are potential visitors to the U.S. from abroad. Some specific examples of USTS brochures include regional state and citv guides containing detained information on attractions, events and lourism destinations, as well as regional, state and city maps. There are six different regional guides and 21 different city guides available. In addition, USTS issues brochures of airline service within the USA. including route maps and practical informaiton, motorcoach service within the USA featuring route maps of major motorcoach travel, and car rental services within the USA, including special rotes for foreign visitors and a mileage map of the United States. Also available is a listing of major convention and trade shows and exhibitions held in the United States, including a brief description, meeting dates, and association addresses. This publicacton is issued yearly by USTS. The Advertising and Promotion Division is in charge of the promotional brochures. USTS research reports include information covering the travel habits and patterns of the residents of the primary tourism-generating countries, namely Canada, Mexico, Japan, United Kingdom, East Germany, and France. Also available are reports on selecetd tourism-related developments within the travel industry and the overall economic environment. These studies reflect the collection, extraction, and, interpretive analyses of existing government forms and published data as well as extensive primary market research information. The Research and Analysis Division prepares the research publications.[.._.] I._..3

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