Great Post on International Tourism as a Trade Issue

Sometimes my blog titles are so clever and witty that you don’t know what the post is about until you start reading it. “You Down with TPP? (Yeah, You Know Me!)” might be one example of that.

But this post title is pretty straight up. This is a great post on international tourism as a trade issue, from everyone’s favorite government agency: The Economics & Statistics Administration.

Of course, it’s not only great because it’s interesting, but because it reinforces something I’ve been saying: international tourism = international trade. Literally, because what we’re doing is selling our local product (in this case, it’s airfare and hotels and experiences, etc.) to people from other countries, which is the definition of international trade…the fact that they come here to get it is technically just a question of delivery.

So what does that mean for WCIT? As the champion for all trade policy issues that impact Washington business, I want to help advocate for whatever policy issues are impeding the growth of international tourism in Washington. Likely, a lot of these have to do with visa and customs issues, and the host of barriers that we raise to keep foreign visitors out rather than welcoming them with open arms. Obviously, it has to be a balance with homeland security, but – if we’re not careful – those discretionary tourism dollars will go to other countries that are much easier to gain access to.

As a side note, this theme of international tourism/international trade is an important part of how the tourism industry structures itself. Perhaps, then, it’s no coincidence that the new head of the Washington Tourism Alliance is a former international business executive (director of industry relations for Europe, Middle East and Africa for Concur Technologies in Redmond). As you can imagine, I’m very excited to speak with her once she gets started.

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