The United States of America provides both domestic and international travelers with a host of experiences. From New York to Los Angeles, the US is absolutely filled with picturesque landscapes, historical sites and incredible food. Let’s take a look at the interesting history of tourism in the US.
During the Second Industrial Revolution (late 19th to early 20th century), the United States experienced a boom in the tourism industry. Major cities such as New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco became tourist hotspots, attracting people from all over the country and the world.
With the invention and later the accessibility of the automobile in the 1920s, average Americans were able to travel throughout their country independently and with relative ease. By the 1930s, a culture developed around the building of hotels and certain leisure complexes.
The Great Depression and World War II put a damper on tourism, but it came back in full swing in 1945, when air travel started becoming popular. Although travel by air became more popular in accessible, most Americans tended to do road trips for various reasons, mainly cost effectiveness.
In the 1950s, record numbers of American families entered the middle class, and were able to afford luxuries such as leisure travel that they had previously not been able to enjoy. This completely changed the tourism industry and led to a massive boom.
At this time, Florida became a well-known tourist destination for its sunny beaches and warm climate. Also during the 1950s, the motel format was invented, to attend to the needs of the growing number of families traveling the country.
In 1955, Disneyland first opened in Anaheim, California. It was completely unparalleled during its time, and created a renewed interest in amusement parks and other family oriented vacation spots.
The increased affordability of airline tickets, the reliability of automobiles, and the new iInterstate Highway system, allowed Americans to travel throughout their country with greater ease and enjoyment than ever before. Air travel also allowed Hawaii to become a popular tourist destination.
By the end of the century, tourism all around the world had become a major in history. The World Tourism Organization estimates that in 1950 the tourism industry generated a total of $2.1 billion and saw a total of 25.2 million international arrivals. By 1997, the spending rose to $443.7 billion, with 612.8 million arrivals internationally.