Two-Way Tourism

April 19, 1961

Report Outline
Foreign Travel and Tourist Dollar Gap
Growth of Foreign Travel by Americans
Plans for Attracting Foreign Tourists
Special Focus

Foreign Travel and Tourist Dollar Gap

Government participation in efforts to attract foreign visitors to the United States appears on the verge of substantial expansion. Until recently, Washington's interest in foreign travel, whether of Americans vacationing abroad or of foreigners coming to this country, was limited for the most part to passport, visa and customs formalities. Although a broad-scale program of travel promotion was recommended in the latter part of the Eisenhower administration, the steps taken in that direction did not lead far. Considerably more vigorous action is now being planned.

The Kennedy administration has given its support to a bill in Congress to establish a travel bureau in the Department of Commerce comparable to the travel promotion agencies maintained by numerous foreign governments. Secretary of Commerce Luther H. Hodges, addressing a New York conference held under the auspices of the 21-nation European Travel Commission on April 14, called for “a rising tide of two-way tourist travel between the United States and other countries.” Although the immediate concern is to persuade more foreign tourists to come to this country, Hodges gave assurance that there was “no intention of discouraging American travel abroad.” On the day he spoke, seven liners sailed from New York carrying 6,200 passengers—the largest number to depart from that port for Europe on a single April day since the end of World War II.

Tourist Share of Balance of Payments Deficit

Special attention has been directed to foreign travel as the result of a sizable and continuing deficit in the U.S. balance of international payments, which last year caused exceptionally large amounts of gold to leave the country. The United States, while recording a healthy export surplus in its merchandise trade in 1960, had an over-all deficit of $3.8 billion in its international accounts. The most important single element in that deficit was attributable to what may be called the tourist dollar gap. The Department of Commerce has estimated that American tourists spent $2.2 billion abroad last year, whereas foreigners traveling in this country spent only $1 billion. The difference of $1.2 billion accounted for almost one-third of the balance-of-payments deficit.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Tourism and Vacation
Sep. 24, 2021  Travel and COVID-19
Nov. 09, 2018  Global Tourism Controversies
Oct. 20, 2006  Ecotourism
Jun. 17, 1988  America's ‘Vacation Gap’
May 04, 1984  Tourism's Economic Impact
Jul. 21, 1978  Tourism Boom
May 14, 1969  Summer Camps and Student Travel
May 18, 1966  Tourist Dollar Gap
Apr. 19, 1961  Two-Way Tourism
Jul. 20, 1955  Competition for Passenger Travel
Jul. 03, 1946  Travel Boom
Jun. 17, 1930  Foreign and Domestic Tourist Traffic
Travel and Tourism