Many travelers around the country are wondering if the recent shifts in the global economy have affected the US tourism industry. Have fluctuating gas prices put a damper on family road trips? Are hotel rates through the roof? Are state tourism organizations taking action to improve the quality of travel for vacationers? These are valid but complicated questions, as certain sectors of the industry are rebounding while others seem to either dwindle or level off.
On the positive side of the spectrum, the number of international visitors has increased throughout 2012. According to the Office of Travel & Tourism Industries, international travelers have spent $153.8 billion on tourism-related goods and services in the United States from January to November of 2012. This number has increased 10 percent in comparison to the previous year.
When it comes to individual states, there is no question that those with a higher volume of natural wonders and attractions have no reason to fret. For example, the rate of visitors in Oregon didn't take as much of a nose-dive as the rest of the country during the peak of recession. According to Travel Oregon statistics, hotel room revenue dropped 10.9 percent in 2009, while the figures for the entire country that year descended to 16.2 percent. "I believe this can be attributed to our decision to keep our foot on the throttle with our marketing dollars, realizing that the recession was no time to let up," says Linea Gagliano, Manager of Global Communications at Travel Oregon.
Since experts recognize Oregon's large drive market from neighboring states like California and Washington, Travel Oregon is in the midst of expanding that market by taking innovative approaches to attract more tourists from all over the country in 2013. The organization plans to promote the region's culinary success and wineries through events such as Feast Portland, which typically appeals to visitors from around the globe.
Oregon isn't the only state that's taking appropriate measures to boost tourism dollars. According to KSFY, an ABC affiliate, South Dakota's Department of Tourism Secretary James Hagen is using popular local mascots to attract a broader range of out-of-state visitors. These mascots are touring numerous crucial markets, including New York City's famous Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Considering the fact that many consumers are still spending less, there's no doubt that the tourism industry is in survival of the fittest mode. The states that implement creativity will likely keep travel revenue at a desirable level, making it possible for families to enjoy national attractions in new and exciting ways.