The need to escape from highways lined with billboards and cities full of soot grows more imperative each year, and each year the American traveler's search for untrampled beaches and forest groves becomes harder and longer. The beachcombers keep packing up and moving: away from the Florida coast to the smallest cays of the Bahamas; away from Honolulu to the Outer Islands of Hawaii; away from the French Riviera to the Greek islands. Travel Editor Fred Smith reports on the onward surge: "In the isles of Greece now the only sure island of quiet is the deck of a charter boat." One new beachhead for active beachcombers is Lebanon, and this week, in 12 pages of color photographs by Pete Turner and text by Senior Editor Smith starting on page 38, we describe the sporting activities they find there.
This leisure-time quest causes Americans traveling outside the U.S. to spend much more money than foreign visitors spend here and, as part of an attempt to cut the $3 billion gap, the Government has recently been making efforts to discourage foreign travel. It seems unlikely that such efforts will be entirely successful. The appeal of faraway places like Lebanon is in direct ratio to growing leisure time and faster jets. However, tourists probably will spend less in Beirut's free port than they might have before. The duty-free allowance is to be reduced once more, this time from $100 (wholesale value) to $50 (retail), and by this means it is hoped that about $100 million will be trimmed from the nation's net tourist-dollar outflow of $1.6 billion a year.
At the same time President Johnson has asked the U.S. travel industry to strengthen and broaden the appeal of American vacations to foreign and domestic travelers, hoping to turn the tables on spending by getting people either to stay here or come here.
Our kind of travel reporting is directed toward the active traveler, both in the U.S. and abroad, the sportsman who is not primarily interested in the duty-free allowance. He doesn't ship back trunkfuls of souvenirs. But he is very much interested in finding the best sport, wherever it may be, and our business is to discover such places and report on them for the adventurous. There are game fishermen who have left behind them even the modest comforts of Yucatan to fish for tarpon in the jungly reaches of the San Juan River in Nicaragua, a place in little danger of ever qualifying as a tourist trap. We know plenty of hunters who are prepared to face the discomforts and hazards of the South American rain forests in pursuit of their chosen quarry. These are the active travelers of the U.S., the sportsmen and sportswomen who also skin-dive off the Florida Keys, fish the Madison River and stalk antelope in Montana, and ride the Pacific Crest Trail down 2,156 miles of the West Coast.
March 29, 1965
These Americans who travel for sport know what appeals to sportsmen, and they know that our great national parks and forests, the lakes and streams full of fish, the beautiful golf courses, the well-equipped ski resorts can all be huge assets in making the U.S. a new factor in the world travel market.
Just as Europeans and Asians and South Americans are anxious to tell us about—and attract us to—their wonders, we know that Americans traveling abroad, particularly sports-minded Americans, are passing along the story of the magical country back home. Travel, particularly sporting travel, is a two-way street. May it ever grow wider.