Tourism in the United States is a large industry that serves millions of international and domestic tourists yearly. Foreigners visit the US to see natural wonders, cities, historic landmarks, and entertainment venues. Americans seek similar attractions, as well as recreation and vacation areas.
Tourism in the United States overgrew in urban tourism during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
By the 1850s, tourism in the United States was well established both as a cultural activity and an industry. New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and San Francisco, all major US cities, attracted numerous tourists since the 1890s. By 1915, city touring had marked significant shifts in how Americans perceived, organized, and moved.
Democratization of travel occurred during the early twentieth century when the automobile revolutionized travel.
Similarly, air travel revolutionized travel during 1945–1969, contributing significantly to tourism in the United States. Purchases of travel and tourism-related goods and services by international visitors traveling in the United States totaled $10.9 billion during February 2013.
The travel and tourism industries in the United States were among the first economic sectors negatively affected by the September 11, 2001 attacks.
In the United States, tourism is among the three largest employers in 29 states, employing 7.3 million in 2004 to take care of 1.19 billion trips tourists took in the US in 2005. As of 2007, there are 2,462 registered National Historic Landmarks (NHL) recognized by the United States government. As of 2018, New York City is the most visited destination in the United States, followed by Los Angeles, Orlando, Las Vegas, and Chicago.
Tourists spend more money in the United States than any other country while attracting the third-highest number of tourists after France and Spain. More extended stays may explain the discrepancy in the US.
It consists of 50 states, a federal district, five major unincorporated territories, 326 Indian reservations, and some minor possessions. At 3.8 million square miles (9.8 million square kilometers), it is the world’s third- or fourth-largest country by total area. The United States shares significant land borders with Canada to the north and Mexico to the south and limited maritime borders with the Bahamas, Cuba, and Russia. With a population of more than 331 million people, it is the third most populous country globally. The national capital is Washington, DC, and the most populous city is New York City.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago, and European colonization began in the 16th century. The United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Disputes over taxation and political representation with Great Britain led to the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), establishing independence.
In the late 18th century, the United States began expanding across North America, gradually obtaining new territories, sometimes through war, frequently displacing Native Americans, and admitting new states; by 1848, the United States spanned the continent. Slavery was legal in the southern United States until the second half of the 19th century, when the American Civil War led to its abolition. The Spanish–American War and World War I established the United States as a world power, a status confirmed by World War II.
The United States fought the Korean War and the Vietnam War but avoided direct military conflict with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The two superpowers competed in the Space Race, culminating in the 1969 spaceflight that first landed humans on the Moon. The Soviet Union’s dissolution in 1991 ended the Cold War, leaving the United States as the world’s sole superpower.
A federal republic and a representative democracy, the United States has three branches of government and bicameral legislatures. An established member of the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Organization of American States, NATO, and other international organizations. An official member of the United Nations Security Council.
Since millions of immigrants have poured into the city since the 18th century, it has become a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities. The United States ranks high in international measures of economic freedom, quality of life, education, and human rights and has low levels of perceived corruption. However, the country has received criticism concerning inequality related to race, wealth and income, the use of capital punishment, high incarceration rates, and lack of universal health care.
The United States is a highly developed country, accounts for approximately a quarter of global GDP, and is the world’s largest economy by GDP at market exchange rates. By value, the United States is the world’s largest importer and the second-largest exporter of goods. Although its population is only 4.2% of the world’s total, it holds 29.4% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share held by any country. Making up more than a third of global military spending, it is the foremost military power globally, and it is a leading political, cultural, and scientific force internationally.
Etymology of United States
The first known use of the name “America” dates back to 1507 when it appeared on a world map produced by the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller. On his map, the term is shown in large letters on what would now be considered South America, in honor of Amerigo Vespucci.
The Italian explorer was the first to postulate that the West Indies did not represent Asia’s eastern limit but were part of a previously unknown landmass. In 1538, the Flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator used the name “America” on his world map, applying it to the entire Western Hemisphere.
The first documentary evidence of the phrase “United States of America” dates from a January 2, 1776 letter written by Stephen Moylan to George Washington’s aide-de-camp Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go “with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain” to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort. The first known publication of the phrase “United States of America” was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776.
The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed no later than June 17, 1776, declared, “The name of this Confederation shall be the ‘United States of America’.” The final version of the Articles, sent to the states for ratification in late 1777, stated that “The Stile of this Confederacy shall be ‘The United States of America’.”
In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” in all capitalized letters in the headline of his “original Rough draught” of the Declaration of Independence. This document draft did not surface until June 21, 1776, and it is unclear whether it was written before or after Dickinson used the term in his June 17 draft of the Articles of Confederation.
The short form “United States” is also standard. Other common forms are the “United States”, the “USA”, and “America”. Colloquial names are the “United States of A.” and the “States” internationally. “Columbia”, a name popular in American poetry and songs of the late 18th century, derives its origin from Christopher Columbus; both “Columbus” and “Columbia” frequently appear in United States place-names, including Columbus, Ohio, Columbia, South Carolina, and the District of Columbia.
Places and institutions throughout the Western Hemisphere bear the two names, including Colón, Panama, the country of Colombia, the Columbia River, and Columbia University.
The phrase “United States” was originally plural in American usage. It described a collection of states—e.g., “the United States are.” The singular form became popular after the Civil War and is now standard usage in the United States A citizen of the United States is an “American”.
“United States”, “American” and “United States” refer to the country adjectivally (“American values”, “United States forces”). In English, the word “American” rarely refers to topics or subjects not directly connected with the United States.💡« Back to Location Index