nd war against terrorism, a tourism industry leader has warned.
Travel Industry Association of America president and CEO Roger Dow, responding to a detailed survey about attitudes to the US, said: "Our nation is increasingly viewed with distrust. The implications - economic and diplomatic - are considerable."
Noting that the US share of the expanding global travel market has declined by more than 36% in 15 years, he called on policymakers to "embrace travel and tourism" and recognise its potential to boost the country"s image worldwide.
Dow said: "There are major issues impacting our global standing, such as the ongoing fight against terrorism and conflict in Iraq. But solutions do not need to be limited to these areas. In fact, we need to find a different way to present ourselves to the world - one that goes beyond the headlines of the day."
He added: "Travel and tourism presents a unique opportunity to empower the American people to do what they do best - represent America. The more international travellers that come to the US, the more ambassadors we create for our country. Studies consistently show that people from other countries who visit the US leave with a significantly higher opinion of our nation and our people than those who have never been here."
Dow was responding to a Pew Global Attitudes Study - a series of worldwide public opinion surveys involving 17,000 people from 15 countries - which found that favourable opinions about America had fallen in most of the nations polled. In the UK, this has dropped from 83% in 1999-2000 to just 56% this year.
The survey said: "A year ago, anti-Americanism had shown some signs of abating, in part because of the positive feelings generated by US aid for tsunami victims in Indonesia and elsewhere. But favourable opinions of the United States have fallen."
It adds: "In great Britain, America"s most important ally in Iraq, 60% say the war has made the world more dangerous, while just half that number (30%) feel it has made the world safer. Moreover, even as concerns about Iran have increased, somewhat more Britons believe that the US military presence in Iraq represents a great danger to stability in the Middle East and world peace than say that the current government in Iran (by 41%-34%)."
Report by Phil Davies
Wednesday, June 14, 2006