Why Don’t More Americans Travel Abroad?
Even in an economy of recession, the United States remains the most affluent country in the world. However, only 30 percent of the 300 million citizens in America even have a passport, much less feel the need to travel abroad.
According to a study conducted by the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, Americans traveling abroad has been trending down by about 3 percent per year since 2008. Of the trips that Americans did take outside the country, over half were to Canada and Mexico. This means that of the 61.5 million trips that Americans took in the last study cycle, over 30 million did not even require a passport until 2007.
Compared to other industrialized nations such as Canada and Great Britain, the number of passport holders is incredibly low. In Canada, 60 percent of the population has a passport. In the United Kingdom, this number is a full three fourths of the population. However, even this 30 percent statistic is misleading; that number only spiked after the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative required that travelers to Canada show proof of citizenship when reentering America.
Many travel experts blame the low levels of international travel outside the United States on the fact that Americans become very acclimated to their own environments. The United States also has much geographic and cultural diversity inside its borders.
More cynical experts blame the lack of American interest in travel abroad on the media’s portrayal of foreign countries. Many travel experts believe that the image that Americans have of international travel is not involves discomfort in unfamiliar circumstances but also a dip in the quality of life available.
Even Americans who travel internationally concede that certain Metropolitan areas inside the United States such as Los Angeles and New York have a diversity that emulates international travel, which may account for Americans’ relative disdain for international travel.