In the United States, tourism is one of the largest industries that serve millions of international and domestic tourists yearly. It is said to be either the first, second or third largest employer in 29 states, employing millions of workers and creating millions of jobs.
Since the revolution of air travel and by the end of the twentieth century, tourism had significantly grown in the United States as throughout the world. Travel and tourism has strengthened the U.S. economy by creating jobs in communities across the United States.
Tourists visit the US to experience the wide range of tourist attractions, from the natural wonders, cities, amusement parks, festivals, gambling, golf courses, historical buildings and landmarks, hotels, museums, galleries, outdoor recreation, spas, restaurants and sports and other entertainment venues.However, with the September 11, 2001 attacks, a series of terrorist attacks on the US, foreign travel and tourism industry in the United States was among the first commercial casualties, showing a sharp drop in the wake of sweeping security and stricter US visa application policies and procedures. These changes have led to a 4.6-percent decline in its share of the global travel market between 2000 and 2010.
These seemingly minor drop in the travel industry in tourist arrivals between 2000 and 2010 have caused the US $37 billion in lost tax revenue, and 467,000 never-created jobs, which according to the U.S. Travel Association is said to generate $118 million in taxes at all levels of government — and supports 14 million jobs.
Currently, the White House thru President Barack Obama has recently unveiled its new initiatives of promoting the United States as a premier destination for international travelers by streamlining its USA visa application processes; thus, shortening USA visa wait times making it more secure and more efficient.
Pres. Obama’s decision of speeding-up US visa processing for low-risk Chinese and Brazilian travelers has been welcomed by Roger Dow, the president and chief executive of the U.S. Travel Association.
Dow commented that these initiatives will surely “give the recovering U.S. economy a welcome jolt of new energy this summer and beyond.”
Given the demand in American visa at the five U.S. consulates in China and the four in Brazil, the first wave of new Chinese and Brazilian business and leisure travelers is expected to come early this summer.
The president’s executive order, which was unveiled at Disney World earlier this year, is said to be projecting on creating about 1.3 million jobs and producing more than $860 billion in economic activity by 2020.
Aside from streamlining, the new initiatives also involve the expansion of the United States Visa Waiver Program and Global Entry (a program that pre-approves low-risk travelers for entry into the U.S.), and promote US national parks.
Specifically, the president ordered the State and Homeland Security departments to boost the capacity for issuing visas in China and Brazil by 40% this year, as well as streamline wait times for these applicants. Obama also announce the elimination of the need for citizens from Taiwan to obtain a visa a privilege already afforded to travelers from Australia, Japan, South Korea and 33 other American allies.
Obama also ordered an experimental program to waive interviews for low-risk travelers, such as anyone renewing a visa or, in Brazil, younger or older first-time applicants.
Dow commented that Obama’s timing could not be much better as travel is an essential industry for The US and a bipartisan issue that can unite the country and rally the US forward.