There are a number of reasons as to why a country will import a good or service rather than produce it domestically. The primary reason according to economic theory is that when countries are able to trade they will specialize in producing products in which they have a comparative advantage. Other reasons could be that certain cultural products are unavailable in the country or the country lacks an appropriate climate for certain products.
Domestically, imports are viewed in a negative light by those exposed to the economic pressures of competition in a globalized market. This includes producers of those goods and services and their employees. In certain cases, it can be that a town or even an entire city is reliant on the economic activity provided by that industry. One such example is the struggles of Detroit in a time where passenger cars are the biggest import industry in America in terms of dollar value. Due to labor and capital constraints many people are left without jobs or the customers on whose patronage they once relied.
International travel accounted for over a quarter of the value of U.S. services imports in 2019. Although the service itself is being provided outside of the United States, it is considered an import as a foreign service because it is paid for and consumed by Americans. Despite the geographic and cultural diversity of the United States, international travel experiences are one service that can never be produced domestically.