Travelers all over get a day in the sun
May 7, 1997
Web posted at: 12:00 a.m. EDT (0400 GMT)
(CNN) -- From sea to shining sea, from roadside motel to the Ritz, from bus lounge to Lear jet, an estimated 10 million people are expected to be traveling Wednesday in the United States. And, though they may not realize it as they lug their luggage, tromp through airports and fiddle with the hotel ice machine, this is their day.
Wednesday marks Tourist Appreciation Day -- part of National Tourism Week, which highlights the benefits of tourism in the United States. About 3,000 communities are participating -- from Raleigh, North Carolina, where local artists will paint a mural depicting the importance of tourism, to New Mexico, where mariachis, Native American dancers, and the governor will be on hand at the Santa Fe Welcome Center to entertain visitors.
Tourism is big business. In 32 states, it is among the top three employers, according to the Tourism Works for America Council. Only health care consistently provides more jobs.
Some other travel facts, according to the council:
- American travelers in the United States spend $685,000 dollars per minute on tourism.
- In 1996, domestic and international tourism in the United States generated an estimated $476 billion in total expenditures.
- Travel and tourism make up the nation's third largest retail industry, following the automotive industry and food stores.
- The top three activities of U.S. resident travelers in 1996 were: shopping (32%), outdoor activities (17%), and visiting museums or historical sites (14%).
- Family vacations accounted for 72% of all vacation travel in 1996.
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