Br Grace Austin
Everything needs a facelift once in awhile. Including America’s travel advertising campaign. Adopting the tagline, “United States of Awesome Possibilities,” the campaign, launched in March, is the brainchild of the Corporation for Travel Promotion (CTP), a private-public partnership formed in 2010 to encourage tourism, with a marketing budget of $200 million. The push is designed to promote leisure and business travel to drive economic growth and jobs in the tourism industry. Tourists from the UK, Canada, Germany, Mexico, and Japan are the main targets.
The CTP’s goal is to create a “21st-century brand” which “symboliz[es] the boundless possibilities of the U.S.,” as well as representing America’s “diversity.”
“What is so compelling about the United States is that no one thing can explain who we are as a nation,” CTP’s Chris Perkins said in a statement. “Each visitor and each experience helps create the fabric of American culture, and Brand USA embodies this spirit. When we launch our global marketing and advertising campaign next year, we will be able to reach audiences around the world by showcasing the best of America and spreading the message that we welcome visitors with open arms.”
A new logo has been designed by The Brand Union, featuring many dots forming the letters USA. The dots are supposed to represented diverse colors and people across the country. People are encouraged to visit the website, discoveramerica.com.
The easily navigable, large-print website includes featured destinations, ‘Top 10 Lists,’ ‘Trip Ideas,’ and entertaining ‘Travel Tips.’
One such tip warns: “Health care is superior in the U.S. but it can be very expensive because there is no universal health care.”
Other tips refer to ‘social customs,’ which include: “Keep your voice down when talking on a mobile phone in public.”
And for your transportation needs: “Hitchhiking is illegal in many U.S. states.”
The site has been marketed as a one-stop shop, with federal agencies, transportation companies like rental cars and buses, and travel agencies and tour operators links. The use of social networking is also apparent through various Facebook links.
Advertising ads begin airing this spring.
Tourism in the U.S. peaked in 2000, with 26 million overseas arrivals. Since then, global views of the United States have deteriorated with the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, extra security measures placed post 9/11, and the recent economic downturn.
The number of visitors from the U.K. the United States’ largest overseas market, has declined since a record high 4.7 million in 2000.
A $200 million budget exceeds promotional spending of the top ten countries’ tourism budgets, including Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Australia. This is a dramatic increase since 2005, when the U.S. had no marketing budget.
Experts estimate the U.S. lost potentially $606 billion in tourism revenue, largely attributed to a lack of a cohesive, national tourism campaign. International tourists supposedly stay longer than domestic visitors, another reason for the marketing push.
While advertisements have begun showing, it is still unclear whether the U.S. advertising campaign will bring in more tourists, and more importantly, generate more income.