It’s certainly not breaking news that Americans don’t like to travel abroad.
According to the US Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, only 30% of Americans – the US has a population of over 308 million – hold passports, compared to 60% of Canadians and 75% of Brits.
In 2009, travel outside the US was down 3% from the previous year. Bruce Bommarito, Chief Financial Officer of the US Travel Association admits these numbers are “just too low for such an affluent country” but adds, “Americans are comfortable in their own environment”. Matthew Kepnes, founder of NomadicMatt.com goes a step further stating: “Our culture doesn’t emphasise knowledge of the world.”
Tourism experts agree that America’s lack of interest in international destinations while favouring domestic travel without the use of a passport can be put down to three points: ethnic and geographical diversity within the country; the work culture; travel time and cost.
“I’m sure you have great Irish traditional music in an American pub,” Joe Byrne, Executive VP of Tourism Ireland, points out, “but you don’t have the Lakes of Killarney.”