Tourism in the United States is a large industry that serves millions of international and domestic tourists yearly. Foreigners visit the U.S. to see natural wonders, cities, historic landmarks, and entertainment venues. Americans seek similar attractions, as well as recreation and vacation areas.
Tourism in the United States grew rapidly in the form of urban tourism during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. By the 1850s, tourism in the United States was well established both as a cultural activity and as an industry. New York City, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, all major U.S. cities, attracted a large number of tourists by the 1890s. By 1915, city touring had marked significant shifts in the way Americans perceived, organized, and moved.
Democratization of travel occurred during the early twentieth century when the automobile revolutionized travel. Similarly air travel revolutionized travel during 1945–1969, contributing greatly to tourism in the United States. Purchases of travel and tourism-related goods and services by international visitors traveling in the United States totaled $10.9 billion during February 2013.
The travel and tourism industries in the United States were among the first economic sectors negatively affected by the September 11, 2001 attacks.
In the U.S., tourism is among the three largest employers in 29 states, employing 7.3 million in 2004, to take care of 1.19 billion trips tourists took in the U.S. in 2005. As of 2007, there are 2,462 registered National Historic Landmarks (NHL) recognized by the United States government. As of 2018, New York City is the most visited destination in the United States, followed by Los Angeles, Orlando, Las Vegas, and Chicago.
Tourists spend more money in the United States than any other country, while attracting the second-highest number of tourists after France and Spain. The discrepancy may be explained by longer stays in the US.
The rise of urban tourism in the United States during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries represented a major cultural transformation concerning urban space, leisure natural activity and as an industry.package tours did not exist until the 1870s and 1880s, entrepreneurs of various sorts from hotel keepers and agents for railroad lines to artists and writers recognized the profit to be gained from the prospering tourism industry. The rise of locomotive steam-powered trains during the 1800s enabled tourists to travel more easily and quickly.
In the United States 2,800 miles (4,500 km) of track had been completed by 1840, by 1860 all major eastern US cities were linked by rail, and by 1869 the first trans-American railroad link was completed. Yosemite Park was developed as a tourist attraction in the late 1850s and early 1860s for an audience who wanted a national icon and place to symbolize exotic wonder of its region. Photography played an important role for the first time in the development of tourist attractions, making it possible to distribute hundreds of images showing various places of interest.
New York City, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, all major US cities, attracted a large number of tourists by the 1890s. New York's population grew from 300,000 in 1840 to 800,000 in 1850. Chicago experienced a dramatic increase from 4,000 residents in 1840 to 300,000 by 1870. Dictionaries first published the word 'tourist' sometime in 1800, when it referred to those going to Europe or making a round trip of natural wonders in New York and New England. The absence of urban tourism during the nineteenth century was in part because American cities lacked the architecture and art which attracted thousands to Europe. American cities tended to offend the sensitive with ugliness and commercialism rather than inspire awe or aesthetic pleasure. Some tourists were fascinated by the rapid growth of the new urban areas: "It is an absorbing thing to watch the process of world-making; both the formation of the natural and the conventional world," wrote English writer Harriet Martineau in 1837.
As American cities developed, new institutions to accommodate and care for the insane, disabled and criminal were constructed. The Hartford, Connecticut American School for the Deaf opened in 1817, Ossining, New York state prison (now known as Sing Sing) in 1825, the Connecticut State Penitentiary at Wethersfield in 1827, Mount Auburn Cemetery in 1831, the Perkins School for the Blind in 1832, and the Worcester State Hospital in 1833.
These institutions attracted the curiosity of American and foreign visitors. The English writer and actress Fanny Kemble was an admirer of the American prison system who was also concerned that nature was being destroyed in favor of new developments. Guidebooks published in the 1830s, 40s and 50s described new prisons, asylums and institutions for the deaf and blind, and urged tourists to visit these sights.
Accounts of these visits written by Charles Dickens, Harriet Martineau, Lydia Sigourney and Caroline Gilman were published in magazines and travel books. Sigourney's Scenes in My Native Land (1845) included descriptions of her tour of Niagara Falls and other places of scenic interest with accounts of her visits to prisons and asylums. Many visited these institutions because nothing like them had existed before. The buildings which housed them were themselves monumental, often placed on hilltops as a symbol of accomplishment.
By 1915, city touring had marked significant shifts in the way Americans perceived, organized and moved around in urban environments. Urban tourism became a profitable industry in 1915 as the number of tour agencies, railroad passenger departments, guidebook publishers and travel writers grew at a fast pace. The expense of pleasure tours meant that only the minority of Americans between 1850 and 1915 could experience the luxury of tourism. Many Americans traveled to find work, but few found time for enjoyment of the urban environment. As transportation networks improved, the length of commuting decreased, and income rose. A growing number of Americans were able to afford short vacations by 1915. Still, mass tourism was not possible until after World War II.
During the nineteenth century, tourism of any form had been available only to the upper and middle classes. This changed during the early twentieth century through the democratization of travel. In 1895, popular publications printed articles showing the car was cheaper to operate than the horse. The development of automobiles in the early 1900s included the introduction of the Ford Model T in 1908. In 1900, 8,000 cars were registered in the US, which increased to 619,000 by 1911. By the time of the Model T's introduction in 1908, there were 44 US households per car. Early cars were a luxury for the wealthy, but after Ford began to dramatically drop prices after 1913, more were able to afford one.
The development of hotels with leisure complexes had become a popular development during the 1930s in the United States. The range of "club" type holidays available appealed to a broad segment of the holiday market. As more families traveled independently by car, hotels failed to cater to their needs. Kemmons Wilson opened the first motel as a new form of accommodation in Memphis, Tennessee in 1952.
Although thousands of tourists visited Florida during the early 1900s, it was not until after World War II that the tourist industry quickly became Florida's largest source of income. Florida's white sandy beaches, warm winter temperatures and wide range of activities such as swimming, fishing, boating and hiking all attracted tourists to the state. During the 1930s, architects designed Art Deco style buildings in Miami Beach. Visitors are still attracted to the Art Deco district of Miami. Theme parks were soon built across Florida. One of the largest resorts in the world, Walt Disney World Resort, was opened near Orlando, Florida in 1971. In its first year, the 28,000-acre (110 km2) park added $14 billion to Orlando's economy.
The revolution of air travel between 1945 and 1969 contributed greatly to tourism in the United States. In that quarter century, commercial aviation evolved from 28-passenger airliners flying at less than 200 mph (320 km/h) to 150-passenger jetliners cruising continents at 600 mph (970 km/h). During this time, air travel in the U.S. evolved from a novelty into a routine for business travelers and vacationers alike. Rapid developments in aviation technology, economic prosperity in the United States and the demand for air travel all contributed to the early beginnings of commercial aviation in the US.
During the first four decades of the twentieth century, long-haul journeys between large American cities were accomplished using trains. By the 1950s, air travel was part of everyday life for many Americans. This was also helped by the establishment of the Interstate Highway System as well as the reliance of automobiles of which Americans saw cars as their new personal found freedom and enjoyment. The tourism industry in the U.S. experienced exponential growth as tourists could travel almost anywhere with a fast, reliable and routine system. For some, a vacation in Hawaii was now a more frequent pleasure. Air travel changed everything from family vacations to Major League Baseball, as had steam-powered trains in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
By the end of the twentieth century, tourism had significantly grown throughout the world. The World Tourism Organisation (WTO, 1998) recorded that, in 1950, arrivals of tourists from abroad, excluding same-day visits, numbered about 25.2 million. By 1997, the figure was 612.8 million. In 1950 receipts from international movements were US$2.1 billion, in 1997 they were $443.7 billion.
The travel and tourism industry in the United States was among the first commercial casualties of the September 11 attacks, a series of terrorist attacks on the U.S. Terrorists used four commercial airliners as weapons of destruction, all of which were destroyed in the attacks on New York City, Washington, D.C., and in Pennsylvania with nearly 3,000 deaths. In the first full week after flights resumed, passenger numbers fell by nearly 45 percent, from 9 million in the week before September 11 to 5 million. Hotels and travel agencies received cancellations across the world. The hotel industry suffered an estimated $700 million loss in revenue during the four days following the attacks. The situation recovered over the following months as the Federal Reserve kept the financial system afloat. The U.S. Congress issued a $5 billion grant to the nation's airlines and $10 billion in loan guarantees to keep them flying.
In the U.S., tourism is either the first, second or third largest employer in 29 states, employing 7.3 million in 2004, to take care of 1.19 billion trips tourists took in the U.S. in 2005. The U.S. outbound holiday market is sensitive in the short term, but possibly one of the most surprising results from the September 11, 2001 attacks was that by February 2002 it had bounced back. This quick revival was generally quicker than many commentators had predicted only five months earlier.
The United States economy began to slow significantly in 2007, mostly because of a real-estate slump, gas prices and related financial problems. Many economists believe that the economy entered a recession at the end of 2007 or early in 2008. Some state budgets for tourism marketing have decreased, such as Connecticut which is facing soaring gas prices.
100 million tourists visited Florida in 2015, a record for the nation.
After the election of Donald Trump, whose campaign slogan of "America First" and implementation of travel bans have projected an isolationist posture, the United States experienced a drop of 4.0 percent in travel spending from international tourists during 2017. According to the U.S. Travel Association, this costs $4.6 billion and 40,000 jobs.
Today, there exists a wide range of tourist attractions in the United States such as amusement parks, festivals, gambling, golf courses, historical buildings and landmarks, hotels, museums, galleries, outdoor recreation, spas, restaurants and sports.
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America's Caribbean is a loosely used nickname for the U.S. Virgin Islands and for Florida's Key West For instance the U.S. Travel and Tourism Administration and the USVI Commissioner of Tourism as well as other tourist and cruise companies use this term thus avoiding mentioning specific destination.American Guide Series
The American Guide Series was a group of books and pamphlets published in 1937–41 under the auspices of the Federal Writers' Project (FWP), a Depression-era works program in the United States. The American Guide Series books were compiled by the FWP, but printed by individual states, and contained detailed histories of each of the then 48 states of the Union with descriptions of every major city and town. In total, the project employed over 6,000 writers. The format was uniform, comprising essays on the state's history and culture, descriptions of its major cities, automobile tours of important attractions, and a portfolio of photographs.Many books in the project have been updated by private companies or republished without updating. Although not then a state, a guide for Alaska was published, and also for Puerto Rico (but not for Hawaii).Appletons' travel guides
Appletons' travel guide books were published by D. Appleton & Company of New York. The firm's series of guides to railway travel in the United States began in the 1840s. Soon after it issued additional series of handbooks for tourists in the United States, Europe, Canada and Latin America.Automobile Blue Book
The Automobile Blue Book was an American series of road guides for motoring travelers in the United States and Canada published between 1901 and 1929. It was best known for its point-to-point road directions at a time when numbered routes generally did not exist (Wisconsin became the first state to number its highways in 1918).Beach TV Properties
Beach TV Properties is a television broadcasting company based in Panama City, Florida. Also known as the Destination Network, the company specializes in television stations that broadcast tourist information to visitors in the cities that Beach TV has a presence in.Economy of the United States Virgin Islands
This territory uses US currency and the fiscal year is 1 October - 30 September.Tourism, trade, and other services are the primary economic activities, accounting for nearly 60% of the Virgin Island's GDP and about half of total civilian employment. Close to two million tourists per year visit the islands. The government is the single largest employer. The agriculture sector is small, with most food being imported. The manufacturing sector consists of rum distilling, electronics, pharmaceuticals, and watch assembly. Rum production is significant. Shipments during a six-month period of fiscal year 2016 totaled 8,136.6 million proof gallons.In mid February 2017, the USVI was facing a financial crisis due to a very high debt level of $2 billion and a structural budget deficit of $110 million. The government introduced a "sin tax" bill that would introduce or increase taxes on rum, beer, tobacco products and sugary drinks, as well as internet purchases and timeshare unit owners. Governor Kenneth Mapp issued an order that restricted the use of government-owned vehicles, put a freeze on non-essential hiring, suspended wage negotiations, and froze non-essential travel paid for by the GVI. He also suspended negotiated wage increases, including those ordered by the U.S. Appeals Court.Ecotourism in the United States
Ecotourism in the United States is commonly practiced in protected areas such as national parks and nature reserves. The principles and behaviors of ecotourism are slowly becoming more widespread in the United States; for example, hotels in some regions strive to be more sustainable.High Trips
The High Trips were large annual wilderness excursions organized and led by the Sierra Club, beginning in 1901. The High Trips lasted until the early 1970s, and were replaced by a larger number of smaller trips to wilderness areas worldwide.Marijuana tourism in the United States
With the adoption of their historic citizen votes in the 2014 general election, marijuana tourism in the United States, a form of drug tourism, exists in Colorado and Washington state.In 2014, the travel guide Fodors published a "how to" for marijuana tourists in Washington state. The official Washington tourism website has a FAQ section for marijuana tourism.In 2013, prior to legalization, the Washington State Liquor Control Board (now the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board) commissioned a study of marijuana legalization on the state, including the impact of tourism. The study, written by Carnegie Mellon University researchers, estimated over 400,000 new visits a year to the state. The Washington State legislature specifically considered tourism in its 2015 I-502 reform. One legal expert stated "Washington’s cannabis tourism industry is in jeopardy" as a result.Because consumption in public is illegal, rentals like Airbnb include "420 friendly" in descriptions for marijuana tourists, and marijuana tourism rental specialists have sprung up to meet demand.The actual impact of marijuana tourism is debated. Industry groups say it is significant, but state tourism officials in Washington said there is "fairly low amounts of consumer interest through our visitor information", and in Colorado "We still don't have any numbers that support that marijuana tourism exists". A NBC News report stated that Hotels.com bookings were up slightly after legalization in both states.Manitou Springs is a small town in El Paso County, Colorado. It is home to two recreational marijuana dispensaries, the only two in the second most populous county in the state. As a direct result of recreational marijuana sales the city's tax base increased. Manitou sales tax collections set a record in July 2014, which included only a few hours of recreational marijuana sales for the month. One operator's Manitou Springs location is their most popular, due to its location at the foot of Pike’s Peak.National Association of Sports Commissions
National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC) is a not-for-profit, 501(c)3 professional association in the sport tourism industry. Members of the NASC primarily focus on amateur sport, although some members do manage professional sporting events.
The association was founded in 19925 to raise the level of professionalism and participation in sport tourism in the United States and has grown from 12 members in 1992 to more than 675 sports event organizations in 2014.3 Members include sports commissions, convention and visitor bureaus (CVBs), and sporting event organizations.
The NASC provides members with professional development and networking opportunities as well as sport tourism research and reports especially relating to the economic impact of sporting events4,6.
The association also maintains online event databases and resource centers, an accreditation program for sports event executives (Certified Sport Event Executive Program), and an information network to share best practices with industry peers. Curriculum of the CSEE program includes:
sports marketing and sales, strategic planning, sporting event management (sport management), the event bid process, technology, and revenue generation (i.e. sponsorship, fundraising).Southeast Tourism Society
"The Southeast Tourism Society" (STS), is a non-profit membership organization promoting tourism within the 12 Southeastern member states by sharing resources, fostering cooperation, networking, providing continuing education, cooperative marketing, consumer outreach, advice & consultation, governmental affairs and other programs. Southeast Tourism Society works with and for business-to-business and business-to-consumer companies with an interest in travel & tourism as a business. Membership is open to any organization within the travel & tourism industry – attractions, destinations, associations, lodging and a wide range of service providers from printing to marketing, public relations to travel writers. Membership is focused on networking, the opportunity for education, advocacy and more. STS was established in September 1983, and the 12 member states include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.Tourism in Omaha
Tourism in Omaha, Nebraska, United States offers visitors history, sports, nature and cultural experiences. Its principal tourist attractions are the Henry Doorly Zoo and the College World Series (CWS). A 2003 study by a Creighton University economist estimated that the CWS added $33.8 million to the city's economy that year. With 1.1 million visitors annually, the Henry Doorly Zoo is Nebraska's most popular tourist attraction. In 2007 Omaha hosted the USA Roller Sports National Championships, along with 10,000 people who auditioned for the American Idol television show at Qwest Center Omaha.Research on per capita spending on leisure and hospitality situates Omaha in the same tier as the neighboring cities of Topeka, Kansas, Kansas City, Missouri, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Denver, Colorado. In 2002 the United States Conference of Mayors ranked Omaha 70th out of the top 100 cities for tourism in the United States.Tourist attractions in the United States
This is a list of the most popular individual tourist attractions in the United States, lists of tourist attractions organized by subject region, and a selection of other notable tourist attractions and destinations.Travel Promotion Act of 2009
The Travel Promotion Act of 2009 (Pub.L. 111–145, Sec. 9) is a law creating the Corporation for Travel Promotion, a public-private partnership tasked with promoting tourism in the United States. To fund the Corporation's activities, the Act provides for a fee of $10 for use of the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). Additionally, the Act authorizes a further charge to recover the costs of providing and administrating the ESTA.
The House passed the bill by a vote of 358–66 in October 2009, and the Senate followed on February 25, 2010 with a vote of 78–18. President Barack Obama signed the bill into law on March 4, 2010.U.S. Customs and Border Protection has announced they will level an additional $4 fee (bringing the total to $14) for visitors to the United States for the cost of administering the ESTA.The reactions of the European Union have been critical and suggestions of a similar fee have been raised on grounds of reciprocity.United States Tour Operators Association
United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) is a 501(c) registered nonprofit professional association representing the tour operator industry. Its members are made up of companies who provide services worldwide but who conduct business in the U.S. As a voice for the tour operator industry, USTOA represents this sector in matters pertaining to the travel industry as a whole, both in the U.S. and abroad. Among USTOA's goals are consumer protection and education, and its standards and work in this area have earned USTOA the endorsement of the United States Government's Consumer Action Handbook.USTOA member companies must meet a number of ethical and financial criteria, including participation in the USTOA $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program, which among other things protects consumer payments up to $1 million in case the company files for bankruptcy, insolvency or cessation of business.United States Travel Service
The U.S. Travel Service was created by the United States Secretary of Commerce on July 1, 1961 pursuant to the International Travel Act of 1961 (75 Stat. 129; 22 U.S.C. 2121 note) after President John F. Kennedy signed Senate Bill 610 on June 29, 1961. It was created to address a deficit in tourism in the United States.In 1981, it was replaced by the creation of the United States Travel and Tourism Administration.United States Travel and Tourism Administration
The United States Travel and Tourism Administration (USTTA) operated the country's official travel and tourism offices worldwide. In 1981, it replaced the United States Travel Service in its role of promoting travel to the United States.In 1996, the U.S. government decided that it would no longer need such and closed all offices. Since, there are some Visit USA Committees in countries where many U.S. tourism companies have offices.Where (magazine)
Where is a series of magazines for tourists, distributed at hotels, convention centres, regional malls and other tourist areas.
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Tourism in the United States
Tourism in North America
United States articles