In the 10 years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, travel around the world has been affected, but nowhere has the impact been as great as in the US itself.
Thanks to strengthened security measures, travelers have been faced with long lines at airports, body checks that some passengers find invasive, and various other indignities for both business and leisure travelers.
This has not just affected airlines and other transport operators. Hotels and resorts, restaurants and cafes, bars and pubs, shopping malls, and entertainment venues have all been directly or indirectly affected.
“The decade following 9/11 has seen significant changes in the way Americans, and those who visit America, travel,” says Roger Dow, President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association.
“We must continue keeping travelers safe with the highest level of security, but we must incorporate principles that improve facilitation and encourage travel.”
Impact on US Economy
But if travelers have been inconvenienced by all of the security measure that have been instituted since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the US economy has also been severely impacted.
And this has cost countless jobs!!!
“Since 9/11, international travel has represented a lost opportunity for the U.S. economy and American jobs,” Dow says.
“While global long haul travel grew 40% from 2000 to 2010, overseas travel to the United States during this same time frame rose just 2%.”
More people have been traveling around the world over the last decade. But the US slice of the pie has been reduced from 17% in 2000 to 12.4% in 2010.
“If America had simply kept pace with the growth in global long haul international travel in the decade after 9/11, 78 million more travelers would have visited the United States, adding a total of $606 billion to the U.S. economy and supporting more than 467,000 additional U.S. jobs annually,” Dow says.
Impact on Business Travel
With a drop of 21% in business travel between 2000 and 2011, the past decade has been especially difficult for this sector.
“This was due to the immediate impact of 9/11 and by the meetings crisis in the late 2000s,” Dow says.
“Business travel returned to growth mode in 2010, increasing nearly 4%, and growth is expected through 2014, although at a much slower rate ranging from 1.2% to 1.7% annually.”
Impact on Leisure Travel
The news for leisure travel has been more sanguine.
“Leisure travel has been quite resilient in the decade since 9/11, with leisure travel volume increasing 17% since 2000, despite a few years of negative growth,” Dow says.
“This growth underscores the importance of travel to Americans. Slow but steady growth of about 2% annually is expected through 2014.”
As the US economy stagnates, one of the key challenges facing the travel industry is attracting more travelers to the United States.
“With the domestic economy again appearing to decelerate, attracting more international visitors to the United States and improving the TSA security experience will play an important role in creating job opportunities for Americans,” Dow says.
“Implementing the principles set forth today by the U.S. Travel Association will help make America more secure and competitive in the global marketplace.”