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U.S. losing out on global tourism

May 9, 2005 at 10:55 AM

NEW YORK, May 9 (UPI) -- U.S. tourism officials are warning foreign visitors are increasingly turned off by bureaucratic visa policies and the nation's tarnished image.

Roger Dow, head of the Travel Industry Association of America, said the number of global travelers has grown by 2 percent to 770 million since 2000, but U.S. market share has not kept pace, the Financial Times reported Monday.

"Our piece of the pie has shrunk by 5 million visitors," Dow said.

He also said rising hostility has created a feeling that the United States is inhospitable and difficult to visit.

"There's a perception of 'Fortress America' that is much worse than it really is," Dow said, adding more competition from Australia, South Africa, Spain and Asia had siphoned off tourism to the United States.

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