The term “destinations” in the context of this chapter refers to popular U.S. visitor sites such as the Hawaiian Islands, Florida’s beaches, New York’s Catskill Mountains, Arizona’s Grand Canyon, California’s Napa Valley, Nevada’s casinos, Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, the Washington, D.C. area’s landmarks, and the National Park System.
Tourist attractions including museums, historical monuments and sites, cultural centers and theme or amusement parks, and mega-shopping malls are all “travel destinations within travel destinations.” These tourist attractions share many key audiences with destinations. Also, attractions and destinations often cooperatively promote their respective locales and attractions. This is why they are treated jointly in this chapter.
The primary market for destinations and tourist attractions is leisure travel. This market is composed of both domestic and international travelers. In 2003, the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA) reported a total of 1.14 billion domestic U.S. person-trips. The top five state destinations that year were California, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, and New York. In 2000, total domestic and international traveler spending (in billions) in those states, respectively, was $78, $60, $36, $16, and $40.
In terms of international visitors, the United States (according to the World Tourism Organization) in 2003 ranked third in the world with 40.4 million, surpassed only by France (75 million) and Spain (52.5 million). However, the United States led the world in 2003 in total foreign tourist receipts with $65.1 billion. The main overseas regions from which this traffic originated were Europe, Asia, and South America.
One of the most difficult decisions for state tourism and CVB PR practitioners is whether to host or “comp” visits by freelancers without definite assignments. If the writer has a solid track record of past placements, hosting the writer can be a beneficial long-term investment that often results in coverage later on. Membership in the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) is one reliable indicator of whether a freelancer is a legitimate journalist—but this is not foolproof.