Saturday, April 23, 2011

International Visitation Up Three Percent In January 2011

The good news on Tourism continues. International US inbound Tourism has increased the last 16 months.

The incentives and meetings are also on the increase and doing very well. If you live in a popular tourist and or resort destination now is a good time to apply to the local DMC's. Southern California companies are so busy at least one is offering a finders fee for help in localing additional staff.

The U.S. Department of Commerce today announced that 4.2 million international visitors traveled to the United States in January 2011, a three percent increase over January 2010. January 2011 registered the 16th straight month of increases in total U.S. visits.
International visitors spent $11.7 billion in January 2011, 10 percent more than in January 2010. January 2011 marks the 13th consecutive month of growth in U.S. travel and tourism-related exports.


Overseas Resident Visitation
January 2011 overseas resident visits (1.8 million) were up nine percent compared to January 2010.
Top 10 Countries
In January 2011, eight of the top 10 countries posted increases in visitation to the United States, with five of those countries posting double-digit increases. However, for the month, visitation from Mexico declined 10 percent, and visits from Germany dropped three percent.
Top 10 Countries
Country of Residence % Change January
2011 vs. 2010
Canada 6%
Mexico -10%
Japan 4%
United Kingdom 2%
Brazil 28%
South Korea 19%
People's Republic of China
(excl Hong Kong) 49%
Germany -3%
Australia 27%
France 19%

Top Ports: January 2011
In January 2011, visitation through the top 15 ports of entry accounted for 84 percent of all overseas visits-more than one percentage point lower than last year. The top three ports (Miami, New York JFK and Los Angeles) accounted for 40 percent of all overseas arrivals, about the same as last year. Eleven of the top 15 ports posted increases in arrivals in January 2011. Six of these ports posted double-digit increases.

Access to OTTI Data
Manufacturing and Services' Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI) collects, analyzes and disseminates international travel and tourism statistics from the U.S. Travel and Tourism Statistical System. OTTI produces visitation data tables, including a more detailed region, country and port analyses. To access this data, you are encouraged to visit the OTTI monthly arrivals page at .

National Export Initiative
To improve conditions that directly affect the private sector's ability to export and to boost employment recovery, on March 11, 2010 President Obama created the National Export Initiative (NEI). The automation of the arrival/departure form [CBP Form I-94W] for Visa Waiver Program travelers supports this initiative as the automated form will greatly improve the measurement of international arrival data to the United States. To learn more about the NEI, you are encouraged to visit .
Throughout this report, percent changes posted for international visitation to the United States for January 2011 were calculated by comparing data in January 2011 to data in January 2010.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Gifts and Tourism

I've met so many interesting women offering wonderful gifts and services through Tory Johnson’s Spark and Hustle events. ( I’m not involved in the gift market but I work in Tourism a market often misunderstood and over looked in the US. It is an industry which includes gifts, swag, decor, floras, services, events and opportunities for unique, upscale and personalized gifts and services.

Normally I’m an International Tour Director and Trainer. My students are leading international, domestic and local tours and programs. I can’t cover it all here but I want to give you an over view and basic understanding of the needs of the companies involved in tours, programs and events. If you’re looking for a new market, hopefully you‘ll be able to meet their needs in building your success.

I think everyone knows Travel Agents. They make reservations for travel, tours and cruises. Most like giving something special gifts to their clients. Some still do flowers but maybe you have something to offer that may be more specialized and appreciated that will remind them of their trip and the agent. Travel related gifts with the name of the agent? Travel bags? Personalized money pouches? Or?

I work for Tour Operators the companies with the beautiful brochures offering tours when you enter the travel agency. The tour operators also offer gifts to the travelers. When I started it was the old style flight bag with the company logo. It then went to fanny bags, document cases and etc. Their challenge is with repeat tour members and trying to come up with something unique. The tours may be domestic and or international. Do you have something unique to travel, the destination and or US?

I also give out gifts on my tours and cruises for repeat passengers, birthdays and anniversaries. The gifts have included pictures frames with the company name engraved, Kona Coffee, photo albums, make up bags with a Kangaroo logo, books and etc. Do you have something unique and easy for the Tour Director and passenger to pack?

The biggest market I see for gifts is the domestic market, especially the incentive market. Incentives are gifts offered to increase sales and production. It may be a special gift and or trip individually or as a group. Fortune 500 companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on their VIP’s, meetings, incentives and team building events. Think of the AIG meeting that received so much attention a couple years ago. Just the hotel bill was $600,000.

I recently assisted with coordinating a couple incentive events. The trip was a reward to the highest achieving sales persons. They stay at 4 and 5 Starr resorts. When they arrive they normally receive personalized bags and gifts. (As a person in and out of my car like a sales rep, I know something like the key finder we received at the LA Spark and Hustle would be appreciated.) They were awarded an iPad, watch and or diamond ring. The events are like staging a wedding each night with lighting, floras, plants, decorative curtains, luminaries, custom linens, entertainment, gifts and etc. Events may include an artist offering the guests a special gift to be sent to their home. These are all outside vendors. Think of producing a very upscale wedding with a theme. Each company producing the event tries to make it unique and very upscale. Do you have a gift and or service they may want to use?

Here’s where it can be a bit confusing. The Fortune 500 Company hires the Incentive House. The Incentive House works with the Fortune 500 Company to develop the program, keep track of the incentives, make the reservations and send staff to travel with the group. The Incentive House hires a local Destination Management Company in the location of the program. The DMC organizes and conducts the local activities, including arrivals, transportation, tours, events, team building and etc. (I train the staff that travels with the group and DMC tour directors and guides.)

I also want to mention services. Many of the smaller incentive companies, DMC’s, meeting planners, event planners and tour operators are owned by women. Do you have a service for them? Payroll? IT? Printing? Or?

Tourism is the largest and fastest growing industry in the world and the opportunities are endless. Fortunately, our industry is rebounding and especially the incentive and meeting market.

I hope this gives you ideas of new markets and helps in your success.