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United States tourism industries - Overview

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Tourism is traveling for business or pleasure; the process and theory of inviting, accommodating, and enjoying tourists, and the organization of conducting such tours. In its broadest sense tourism incorporates all forms of travel, both scheduled and unplanned. Today, tourism is considered a broad industry term that refers to a wide variety of activities related to tourism. These activities may include, but are not limited to: booking airline tickets and hotel rooms, determining the type of accommodations that best suits the tourist, determining the best tourist attractions, visiting the sites on vacation, advertising in areas frequented by tourists, assembling and maintaining a database of all tourist information, preparing and promoting a tourism marketing plan, communicating tourist information to travelers, developing the tourism package, promoting a budget plan, preparing technical documents and legal documents related to a proposed tourism operation, advertising to the community and surrounding area, selling vacation tickets, etc. The field of tourism is constantly evolving, always searching for ways to improve and maintain the quality of visitors experiences. With the advent of technology, there has been a tremendous expansion in the industry and many new destinations have emerged that offer a unique experience to travelers.


Inbound tourism comprises of outbound tourism consisting of visits to the tourist destinations of the country of reference, either for business or for pleasure. This form of tourism is the most common and popular among tourists. It involves activities and events planned to attract residents and potential visitors to the location of the planned visit. Outbound tourism, on the other hand, constitutes of activities and events planned to draw in outbound visitors, usually from other countries, who are interested in the location and activities of the destination.


As defined by Wikipedia, "outbound tourism" is "the transport of people, goods, and services for personal and/or business purposes". The most prominent outbound tourism in the United States is domestic tourism. The most significant aspect of domestic tourism is the lodging, food, tourism, travel, leisure, and related services provided to residents of the domestic country.


As defined by economists, a typical resident of the United States is "a person who habitually resides in a community rather than in a household or with members of the same family for financial, social, cultural, educational, economic, and political reasons". In other words, a typical resident of the United States is a person not permanently residing with others like a student or a worker. As was explained in an economic analysis of the United States by the National Association of Realtors, permanent residents in the United States comprise of the following: married couples with children; children of people who are in the process of migrating to the U.S., legally; people who live in one of the two biggest counties (metro and rural) in the state of Texas, in addition to individuals moving from out of state temporarily. These individuals are regarded as transient residents because they move to another residence for a particular length of time, rather than indefinitely. As a result, these individuals' domicile is transferred when they leave their original residence.


For the purpose of this study, three broad types of tourists are distinguished pleasure tourists, business travelers, and international students. Pleasure tourists refer to single persons, families, and singles visiting a particular destination on business trips. Business travelers, on the other hand, include corporate personnel who are traveling to an out-of-country destination for business purposes, and people who are traveling to an out-of-country destination for an extended period of time. International students refer to foreign students studying in the United States and traveling back to their home countries.


Economic analysis finds that the tourism industry supports approximately twelve million direct and indirectly job-related wages and benefits. It supports approximately three million jobs in the field of accommodation, travel, and food services. In terms of direct employment, four million Americans have jobs related to tourism and travel. One-fourth of the population of the united states is directly employed in the tourism and travel industries.


There are various kinds of statistics available on the subject of tourism. A typical statistical analysis shows that a typical tourist increases his/her income by about twenty-five percent and reduces his/her expenditure by about forty percent. Statistics also show that the tourist who visits a particular place twice in a year earns more than the tourist who visits the same place once. The statistical data also shows that the visitor who makes at least three visits to the same place earns more than the tourist who makes just one visit.


Thus, the tourism industries are majorly engaged in the activities of providing accommodation, transport, eating out, shopping, leisure and pleasure, etc. This report has briefly discussed the principal activities of tourism in the United States. The data derived from the survey and statistical studies present a clear picture of the domestic and foreign visitor influx, spending habits, number of tourists, patronage of tourist destinations, and various other tourism characteristics.