Goal to grow U.S. tourism succeeding, report says
The efforts of a specially appointed committee run by the Departments of State and Homeland Security have helped increase U.S. travel and tourism, and that growth is having a positive effect on the economy and job creation, a new report has found.
According to the report, released by the White House Sept. 19, detailed steps have been taken to boost U.S. travel and tourism, thus making it easier for legitimate foreign travelers to visit the United States and spend their money here, while national security is protected at the same time. Those measures include improving visa and foreign visitor processing methods, upgrading and expanding existing consular facilities and hiring more visa adjudicator positions at the State Department to handle the influx of applications from around the world.
The committee was formed earlier this year after President Obama issued an executive order to expand U.S. travel and tourism.
Because of the improvements made, the travel and tourism industry says more than 1 million American jobs could be created over the next decade if the United States continues to increase its share of the international travel market.
“Every year, tens of millions of tourists come from all over the world to visit America,” President Obama said. “That’s good for business, it’s good for the economy and it’s good for our country. That’s why, back in January, I announced new initiatives to bolster tourism and promote everything America has to offer and make it even easier for tourists to come and visit without sacrificing our Nation’s security. I’m glad we’re making progress, and I’ll continue to do whatever I can to strengthen the travel and tourism industry and create an economy that’s built to last.”
Michael Gibbons, former chairman of the National Restaurant Association and president and CEO of Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Mainstreet Ventures Inc. restaurant group, said, “Boosting U.S. travel and filling up hotel rooms are the most important things any tourism group can do.” Gibbons, who earlier this year was appointed by President Obama to the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, noted, “When people stay in hotels, they eat all of their meals in restaurants. That can only help the restaurant and hospitality industries and the economy.”
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, in July alone, international tourists spent $13.7 billion in the United States, up $350 million, or 3 percent, from the same period a year ago. According to both the travel industry and Bureau of Economic Analysis, international travelers spend an average of $4,000 per visit, which supports and leads to additional travel and the creation of tourism-related jobs, such as in the foodservice and hospitality industries.