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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 25, 2005
  Contact: Matt Englehart
(202) 482-3809

U.S. AIMS TO ATTRACT JAPANESE VISITORS FOR FIRST TIME
Commerce Department To Continue Marketing Campaign in United Kingdom

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced the United States would begin marketing itself as a destination to Japanese travelers for the first time in 2005 and 2006. Japan is the second market to be included in this effort, which targeted visitors from the United Kingdom last year in the first integrated marketing campaign ever undertaken by the United States.

"The Japanese are allies and strong economic partners, which is why it makes sense to take the next step in developing our trading partnership in tourism," said Deputy Assistant Secretary for Services Douglas B. Baker. "This program will communicate that the United States welcomes travelers from Japan, and invite them to experience the diversity of this great nation and the hospitality of the American people."

Congress has appropriated $9.8 million for the program this year, an increase from the $6 million allocated for the pilot program launched last year in the United Kingdom. The Travel and Tourism Promotion Advisory Board recommend the Commerce Department market in Japan and the United Kingdom in 2006. The Secretary of Commerce established the board in 2003 to provide direction for the tourism promotion program.

"We are delighted that the Department of Commerce has acted upon the advice of the tourism industry and chosen to extend the promotional campaign into Japan," said James Rasulo, Chairman of the private sector Travel and Tourism Promotion Advisory Board and President of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. "We look forward to partnering with them in this effort."

Japan is second only to the United Kingdom in producing tourism receipts, having generated $12.4 billion for the United States in 2004. It is the fourth-largest arrivals market in terms of number of visitors. In 2004, 3.7 million Japanese visited the United States, an 18 percent increase over 2003.

Prior to Sept. 11, 2001, Japan was the United States' largest tourism export market, generating peak revenues of over $14 billion in 2000. Visitation from Japan is forecasted to reach almost 5 million visitors by 2008. In 2004, the United States saw double-digit growth in foreign visitation for the first time in since 1992, which added nearly $94 billion to the U.S. economy.

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