Spreading a positive message about travel to the US has become a key focus for Brand USA since the Trump administration came to power, the destination-marketing organisation’s president Chris Thompson has revealed.
Speaking at IPW in Denver at the Brand USA conference on Monday (May 21), Thompson said the marketing body had a role in “communicating accurate and timely USA visa policy” and to “clear up misperceptions about travel to the US” that have spread due to Trump’s controversial travel ban.
“The president is focusing on our border and our security, but the US can be welcoming and secure at the same time,” said Thompson.
He revealed Brand USA’s marketing efforts had generated 5.4 million incremental visitors in the last five years and $17.7 billion in incremental spend, though he didn’t reveal whether international visitor numbers had risen or fallen in the last year.
Thompson confirmed the UK remained the number one long haul market for the US, and third in the world behind Canada and Mexico.
Engaging with the trade has been one of Brand USA’s successes in the last 12 months, added Thompson, with four mega fams taking place and a new travel trade website launched at the start of this year.
The site is mobile optimised and includes resources such as the Brand USA Trip Kit, which provides travel information and inspiration for every state, and an expanded calendar laying out industry activities and events.
“Relationships with the travel trade remain critically important to driving international visitors through and beyond our gateways,” Thompson added.
In 2017, Brand USA hosted four mega fams made up of 287 international travel agents, and visiting 140 destinations in 23 states.