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Obama announces strategy to boost travel to the US

On January 19, President Barack Obama released an Executive Order outlining a national strategy for travel and tourism to boost visitation to the U.S. Through this Executive Order, the president has charged several government agencies to take part in efforts and new initiatives to significantly increase travel.

President Obama

Speaking from Disney World, the President unveils plans to establish a new national tourism strategy focused on creating jobs.

“Steady progress has been made since 2010, when my Administration launched the National Export Initiative and the Travel Promotion Act was signed into law,” stated President Barack Obama in his Executive Order. “While our processes for moving people and goods across our borders are now both more secure and more efficient, new initiatives are needed to enable us to better capitalize on the economic opportunities presented by a dynamic 21st century travel and tourism industry.”

Stephen Perry, president and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, was in attendance when the announcement was made and was later sworn in by Secretary of Commerce John Bryson to serve a third term on the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board.

“Today is a very important day for the American economy,” said Perry. “President Obama recognizes the growing spending power of countries such as China and Brazil. Taking steps to open those markets in a safe and responsible manner will result in thousands of new visitors for the United States and New Orleans. It is incredibly rewarding to witness the president acknowledge the economic power and importance of the travel industry.”

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the travel industry contributes $1.3 trillion to the GDP of the U.S. and is responsible for sustaining jobs for almost 15 million people.

“President Obama should be congratulated for signing today’s Executive Order and announcing a suite of initiatives to significantly increase travel and tourism in the United States,” said David Scowsill, president and CEO of the WTTC. “It is a major step forward for the world’s biggest travel and tourism economy.”

President Obama’s announcement calls for a national strategy to make the U.S. the world’s top travel and tourism destination, as part of a comprehensive effort to spur job creation. The number of travelers from emerging economies with growing middle classes, such as China and Brazil, is projected to increase by 135 percent and 274 percent respectively by 2016 when compared to 2010.

“Given the importance of the travel and tourism industry to the U.S. economy and job creation, a coordinated policy, consistent with protecting our national security, is needed to support a prosperous and secure travel and tourism industry in the United States,” stated President Obama.

Some of the initiatives called for in the Executive Order include a new pilot program and rule change for visa processing in China and Brazil, a final rule to expand and make the Global Entry program permanent and the Nomination of Taiwan to the Visa Waiver Program.

“Every year, tens of millions of tourists from all over the world come and visit America,” said President Obama. “And the more folks who visit America, the more Americans we get back to work. We need to help businesses all across the country grow and create jobs; compete and win. That’s how we’re going to rebuild an economy where hard work pays off, where responsibility is rewarded, and where anyone can make it if they try.”

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