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.
Domestic Travelers and International Visitors
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.
Once U.S. travelers reach their destination, what activities are they most interested in? According to a 2003 TIA survey, shopping tops the list, followed by: attending a social or family event; outdoor activity; city/urban sightseeing; rural sightseeing; beaches; historic places/museums; gambling; theme/amusement parks; and visits to national or state parks
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
CVBs and State Tourism Offices
Convention and visitor bureaus vastly expand the scope and reach of local attraction PR efforts. According to the Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI), CVBs are not-forprofit organizations charged with representing a specific destination and helping with the long-term development of communities through a travel and tourism strategy. They usually are membership organizations bringing together businesses that rely on tourism and meetings for revenue.
Representing destinations, tourist attractions, and their CVBs on a statewide basis are their respective state tourism offices (commonly located in the state capitals)—and nearly every U.S. state and territory has one