Still Losing Ground in Welcoming Foreign Visitors, U.S. Turns to Travelocity

Using industry estimates and Department of Commerce data, the Travel Industry Association said the United States welcomed 23.2 million overseas visitors in 2007, more than 10 million fewer than it would have, had the country been "consistent with global, long-haul travel trends."

Though the 23.2 million figure is the highest it has been since 9/11, it still is down 11 percent from the 2000 peak, "despite a worldwide boom in international travel and an extraordinarily favorable exchange rate," according to TIA.

"It's time to put the welcome mat at America's front door," said TIA president and CEO Roger Dow.

One way TIA plans to help do just that is by creating, the "official" U.S. travel and tourism Web site. Set to launch next month, the site will be built as a private-label portal by Travelocity's World Choice Travel division. Travelocity also will provide online hotel reservations.