Global invitation: President Barack Obama in front of Cindrella Palace
PRESIDENT Barack Obama headed to Florida on Thursday (January 19) to highlight America’s status as a premier travel destination, rolling out a special welcome mat to the rapidly swelling ranks of tourists from China, India and Brazil.
The president, hoping to mine the job-creating potential of the economically vital tourism industry, was to announce a new strategy to boost foreign travel and tourism as part of a comprehensive job creation effort.
The effort would ease visa requirements for “low risk” visa applicants from some countries.
For example, certain tourists who already went through screening will be able to renew a US visa without another interview, saving them time and money, officials said. A pilot program will streamline the visa process for others, a move expected to benefits thousands from countries such as Brazil and China.
“Every year, tens of millions of tourists from all over the world come and visit America,” Obama said in a statement ahead of his trip to Disney World in Orlando, one of America’s premier travel destinations.
“And the more folks who visit America, the more Americans we get back to work,” Obama said.
“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.”
His trip follows his signing earlier Thursday of an executive order and the announcement of new initiatives which aim to significantly increase travel and tourism in the US.
The US tourism and travel industry represents 2.7 per cent of gross domestic product and accounted for 7.5 million jobs in 2010, with visitors from overseas responsible for the creation of 1.2 million jobs.
Experts in the travel and tourism industries say more than one million more US jobs could be created over the next decade if the government takes the appropriate tourism-friendly measures.
The number of travelers from emerging economies with growing middle classes was expected to grow by 135 per cent in China, 274 per cent in Brazil and 50 per cent in India between 2010 and 2016, according to the White House, which said that nationals from these three countries contributed approximately $15bn (£9.70bn) and thousands of jobs to the US economy in 2010.
The US State Department is facilitating the effort to encourage overseas travel to the US, issuing more than 7.5 non-immigrant visas in the past fiscal year - a 17 per cent increase over the previous fiscal year.
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