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TI News: An information service from the National Travel & Tourism Office (NTTO)
February 19, 2015
The following Fact Sheet was released by the White House today regarding the President’s initiative to Support Travel and Tourism to Grow Our Economy by Improving the Arrivals Experience for International Travelers to the United States.
This fact sheet can also be found at this link: White House Fact Sheet
The White House
For Immediate Release
FACT SHEET: Supporting Travel and Tourism to Grow Our Economy by Improving the Arrivals Experience for International Travelers to the U.S.
From Washington, DC, to Washington state, every year millions of travelers visit communities across America. Those visits support nearly 8 million American jobs at thousands of businesses, large and small, including an estimated 280,000 additional American jobs over the past five years. In 2014 alone, international travelers spent an estimated $222 billion in the United States.
Recognizing the tremendous potential of the tourism industry - America’s largest services export - the President launched a National Travel and Tourism Strategy in 2012 with an ambitious goal of attracting and welcoming 100 million international visitors annually by the end of 2021. Three years later, we are on track to meet this goal and in fact have seen the number of international visitors grow from 55 million in 2009 to an estimated 74 million in 2014.
Today, the Department of Commerce (DOC) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are building on the progress made by jointly releasing a new report Supporting Travel and Tourism to Grow Our Economy and Create More Jobs: A National Goal on the International Arrivals Process and Airport-Specific Action Plans that outlines new executive actions that answer the President’s call last spring to further expedite and improve the arrivals process for international travelers to the United States and sets forth airport-specific Action Plans for 17 of the highest-traffic airports across the country, accounting for 73.7 percent of all international travelers to the United States.
Facilitating Smoother Arrivals for All International Travelers to the United States
The safety and security of this country will always come first, but we can and must also ensure that the travel experience continues to be welcoming, friendly, and efficient. Today’s announcements build on progress already made by the Administration to support continued growth in travel and tourism to the U.S.: in 2013 alone, the State Department issued 9.2 million visas, up 42 percent since 2010; waiting periods for visas in important markets like Brazil and China have dropped from as high as several months to less than five days on average; and in November 2014, the State Department announced a bilateral agreement with China to increase the length of business and tourist visas issued to each country’s citizens from one year to ten years, while increasing student visas from one to five years. In the three months since that announcement, Chinese demand for U.S. visas has grown by more than 50 percent compared to the same period last year.
Launching a New National Goal to Improve the Arrivals Experience for International Travelers to the United States
Today, DHS and DOC released a report that responds to the President’s May 2014 Presidential Memorandum calling on DOC and DHS to establish a national goal and airport-specific action plans to enhance the arrivals process for international travelers to the United States. The national goal and concrete actions at 17 gateway airports will maximize the economic contribution of travel and tourism while safeguarding our security.
Implementing 17 Airport-Specific Action Plans Developed in Partnership with Industry
The DHS has developed the Action Plans in close partnership with airports, airlines and industry. The Action Plans include significant steps to drive innovation to simplify and accelerate the entry process.
Taking Action Now to Modernize the Arrivals Experience at Airports Across the Country
In addition to the airport-specific executive actions in each of the 17 Action Plans, DHS is also taking new steps to modernize and improve the arrivals experience at more airports across the country.
U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO), 1401 Constitution Avenue, NW, Mail Stop 10003, Washington, DC 20230; Phone:(202) 482-0140; Fax: (202) 482-2887; Website: http://travel.trade.gov; Email: ntto@.trade.gov.