During the Skift Global Forum in New York City in September, Jason Clampet, Skift co-founder and editor-in-chief, sat down with Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, and Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of Visit Philadelphia.
The conversation kicked off with U.S. Travel’s Project: Time Off initiative that’s advocating for people to use all of their vacation time. According to Dow, more than 650 million vacation days go unused every year, and it’s getting worse. In 2000, American’s took an average of 20.3 days off. In 2015, that dropped to 16.2 days.
Millennials, he said, are the worst offenders because they came into the workforce during the recession so they’re nervous about being perceived as non-committed workers if they take off too much time.
“We’ve got to get a dialogue going on between bosses and employees,” said Dow. “Bosses say it’s good for productivity. Employees say I’m much better when I take off and come back refreshed. The problem is in the middle.” Dow explained that too many middle manager say they want to give people time off but there’s always a work crunch.”
Next, Levitz said that city governments are listening more to tourism bureaus about the economic impact of leisure travel and meetings, and the role that bureaus play in driving visitation. She suggested that city councils are aware that visitors contribute funds that pay for things valuable to residents, but sometimes governments need to be reminded with each new administration.
“It’s difficult to make it just on the resident population,” she said. “Without that additional 30 percent of people who come from outside, they’re not going to succeed.”
Lastly, Dow spoke about Brand USA’s recent success in driving international inbound tourism. Intent-to-visit is up around 10 percent, and most importantly, Brand USA levels the playing field by promoting America versus just the individual cities.
You can watch the full interview, below.
Read more coverage of Skift Global Forum 2016.
At this year’s Skift Global Forum in New York City, travel leaders from around the world gathered for two days of inspiration, information, and conversation for panels such as this as well as solo TED-like talks on the future of travel.