SWOT analysis of the USA’s Tourism Industry
This detailed SWOT analysis of the USA’s tourism industry aims to provide readers with a comprehensive insight into the strengths and the weaknesses of the USA’s tourism industry. It also aims to examine the opportunities the industry should explore and the threats it needs to keep an eye on.
Strengths of the USA’s Tourism Industry
The USA has an excellent and thriving tourism industry. According to Lock (2019) the contribution of both domestic and international tourists to the country’s GDP in 2018 was $1.1 trillion. Americans take around 2.29 billion domestic trips a year which clearly demonstrates the power of staycations. Likewise, inbound tourism is fantastic as well with approximately 80 million international visitors coming to the country each year.
Undoubtedly, the USA is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Its tourism industry and what it offers pull tourists from around the world. Ancient lakes, stunning landscapes, soaring mountains, entertainment provisions, sporting events, sunny beaches, remote glaciers, coastlines, restaurants, parks such as Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, Crater Lake National Park, the Grand Canyon, and many other man made and natural wonders mesmerise millions of tourists every year. Lock (2019) reports that the most popular type of vacation for U.S tourists is beach vacation. According to Mejia (2018) the top fun states to visit are California, New York, Nevada, Florida, Illinois, Washington, Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota.
According to Hoistington (2019) the travel and tourism industry in USA catered for approximately 15.6 million jobs in 2018. Resendes (2020) states that 1.6 million new restaurants jobs are to be created by 2028. She also reports that employment satisfaction level among restaurant employees is very good as evidenced from employees rating their workplace happiness as an 8/10. Both American and international tourists spend huge amount of money on food, accommodation, traveling, and purchasing souvenirs making the U.S. tourism industry very lucrative.
Weaknesses of the USA’s Tourism Industry
Mexico, Canada, the UK, Japan, and China are some of the top countries for U.S. inbound tourism. However, Hoistington (2019) reports a flatline in international visitors from China. Recent trade dispute between the USA and China has been a key factor. Foroohar (2019) reports that travel from Germany is down by around 7% and tourists from Canada and South Korea show less enthusiasm about vacations in the USA. Milward (2019) states that the number of international tourists to the US dropped by 5.4% in March 2019 compared to the same time in 2018. This prompted fears among many tourism experts and businesses.
Rigid visa systems, costs of holidays, and the attempts to ban tourists from some countries affect the U.S. tourism industry badly. Many analysts argue that a difficult visa system, and unnecessary barriers on international tourists drive millions of prospective visitors to other countries who would otherwise have visited the USA and contributed to economic growth. Likewise, findings from some surveys are suggesting that a smaller number of Americans will take holidays in 2020 and this trend may continue next few years.
Opportunities for the USA’s Tourism Industry
Lock (2019) reports that Canada, Mexico, the UK, Japan, China, Brazil, South Korea, Germany, France, India, Australia, Italy, Argentina, Colombia, and Spain are the top 15 source countries for the U.S. inbound tourism. Though a decline is expected from some sources, the USA has many pull factors to attract tourists from around the world. Chinse tourists often spend a huge amount of money, and therefore, inviting more Chine tourists are likely to bring in more revenues.
Once the current economic turmoil is over, the domestic tourism is likely to increase. Therefore, developing more visitor attractions up and down the country may offer more opportunities. Many luxury hotels, restaurants, and other attractions are now being constructed away from tourist hubs. This is likely to attract the attention of both domestic and international tourists who many want to enjoy their holidays away from the hustle and bustle of mega city centres.
Threats to the USA’s Tourism Industry
Threat is the last element to address in the SWOT analysis of the USA’s tourism industry. The USA competes with a number of other countries for the market share of international inbound tourism. Some of the biggest competitors are France, Spain, China, Italy, Turkey, Mexico, Germany, Thailand, and the UK. All of these countries are constantly coming up with new strategies to draw the attention of international tourists. Apart from competition, some of the U.S. states which are also tourist hotspots, are often affected by natural disasters such as severe snow, ice storms, tornadoes, flooding, tsunami waves, earthquakes, and so on. These disasters often affect the country’s tourism industry badly.
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Last update: 13 June 2020
Foroohar, R. (2019) The trouble with American tourism, available at: https://www.ft.com/content/0f7d818a-c38b-11e9-a8e9-296ca66511c9 (accessed 01 June 2020)
Hoistington, A., (2019) WTTC: U.S. still leads world in travel and tourism, available at: https://www.hotelmanagement.net/own/wttc-u-s-still-leads-world-travel-and-tourism (accessed 05 June 2020)
Lock, S. (2019) Travel and tourism industry in the U.S. – Statistics & Facts, available at: https://www.statista.com/topics/1987/travel-and-tourism-industry-in-the-us/ (accessed 10 June 2020)
Mejia, Z., (2018) These are the 10 most fun US states of 2018, available at: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/25/the-10-most-fun-us-states-of-2018.html (accessed 12 June 2020)
Milward, D. (2019) US sees biggest slump in tourism for four years, available at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/news/us-counts-cost-of-biggest-slump-in-tourism-for-four-years/ (accessed 10 June 2020)
Resendes, S. (2020) 50+ Restaurant Industry Statistics Restaurateurs Should Know in 2020, available at: https://upserve.com/restaurant-insider/industry-statistics/#:~:text=Restaurant%20Employment%20Statistics,employees%20in%20the%20United%20States. (accessed 01 June 2020)
Photo credit: Pixabay
Author: M Rahman
M Rahman writes extensively online with an emphasis on business management, marketing, and tourism. He is a lecturer in Management and Marketing. He holds an MSc in Tourism & Hospitality from the University of Sunderland. Also, graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University with a BA in Business & Management Studies and completed a DTLLS (Diploma in Teaching in the Life-Long Learning Sector) from London South Bank University.