Obama announces national strategy to boost travel and tourism in the US

Fresh from the White House, a press release notes an initiative to promote tourism in America. Of course, there is a hefty figure to back up this initiative. “The number of travelers from emerging economies with growing middle classes such as China, Brazil, and India – is projected to grow by 135%, 274%, and 50% respectively by 2016 when compared to 2010. Nationals from these three countries contributed approximately $15 billion dollars and thousands of jobs to the U.S. economy in 2010.”

That’s a big number. I can’t think of a country that doesn’t value tourism. Even in North Korea, you can see Chinese tourists rollin’ around PyongYang in their Audis. But how exactly is the Obama administration going to pull this off?

Game plan

The Secretaries of Commerce and the Interior will be charged with:

  • Promoting visits to our national treasures
  • Increasing non-immigrant visa processing capacity in China and Brazil by 40% in 2012.
  • Ensuring that 80% of non-immigrant visa applicants are interviewed within three weeks of receipt of application.
  • Increasing efforts to expand the Visa Waiver Program and travel by nationals eligible to participate in the Visa Waiver Program, and expanding reciprocal trusted travel programs for expedited travel (such as the Global Entry program).
  • Establishing and maintaining a publicly available website with key information and statistics from across the Federal Government to assist industry and travelers in understanding visa processes in key travel and tourism markets, and entry times into the United States.
  • Appoint new members to the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board
  • Nomination of Taiwan to Visa Waiver Program

Photography provided by whitehouse.gov

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