US launches plan to bring back foreign tourists
Published: Jun 09, 2022 07:15 PM
In an effort to win back billions of dollars in tourism revenue lost during the COVID-19 pandemic, the US government this week launched a plan to attract 90 million international travelers a year.

The five-year plan aims to add jobs and bring in an estimated $279 billion a year in spending by visiting tourists, the Commerce Department said.

"The impact of COVID-19 has taken a toll on our national and local economies, but it also has presented us with a unique opportunity to mold a more inclusive, equitable, sustainable and resilient travel and tourism industry than ever before," Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement.

Prior to the pandemic, travel and tourism generated a $53.4 billion trade surplus and supported a million US jobs, the statement said.

In 2019, nearly 80 million international travelers visited the country and contributed almost $240 billion to the US economy, but that dropped by more than half in 2020.

With widespread availability of vaccines, monthly overseas arrivals have increased to more than 2 million in April 2022, up from roughly 775,000 in October 2021.

That means international travel has generated a trade surplus in each of the past five months - a positive indication the sector is trending toward recovery, the statement said.

The five-year National Travel and Tourism Strategy will focus on increasing promotion of US destinations, especially to underrepresented sites, and improving communication about health status and requirements.