CHICAGO—A consortium of marketing firms, led by Edelman, has picked up a $6 million assignment from the Department of Commerce to market the U.S. as a tourism destination. The consortium, under the soubriquet The Visit America Alliance, includes Maurice Saatchi’s advertising agency M&C Saatchi and Milwaukee-based travel marketing firm BVK.
The campaign will focus on attracting visitors from a single market, the UK, in year one, as a pilot program for what is envisioned to be an ongoing and expanding campaign. It is the first federal program in nearly a decade to market the U.S. as a travel destination. The program will have four main objectives: to increase U.S. visitation; to augment the economic impact realized from inbound visitation; to generate interest and future intent to visit the U.S.; and to build perception of the U.S. as a travel destination in the UK.
Due in part to the terrorist attacks of 9/11 the U.S. tourism industry has suffered declines in recent years. Spending by international inbound travelers has fallen to a 2002 low of $87.8 billion from $102 billion in 2000.
According to the Department of Commerce, which is the contracting agency, the Visit America Alliance was chosen for its leadership and expertise in the field of tourism.
Neil Fleiger, general manager of Edelman’s Washington, D.C. office, said the program would be served through the firm’s federal programs practice, which currently includes programs for the Department of Health & Human Services. “The fact that we won this highly competitive international assignment just a few months after being listed on the GSA Schedule shows the strength and value of Edelman’s offering to government clients,” Flieger said.