In the United States, the tourism industry contributes significantly to the national economy not only by generating employment and increased domestic spending, but also by attracting international visitors and an accompanying infusion of foreign capital. In this sense, tourism is an export.
Nature-based tourism, a rapidly growing form of tourism, has emerged as a "new" product in an industry traditionally dominated by mass tourism products, such as resort tourism. The export of nature-based tourism is an environmentally non-consumptive means of generating jobs and revenue for the United States.
This report traces the history of United States tourism policy over the past four decades and attempts to highlight the significance of nature-based tourism as an economic, social, and recreational activity. From these discussions, the report draws conclusions about United States tourism policy, the success of the 1995 White House Conference on Travel and Tourism, and the future of rapidly growing "new" tourism products such as nature-based tourism.