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U.S. Travel Association Supports Visa Videoconferencing TechnologyDecember 16, 2010 By: Staff
The U.S. Travel Association supports a measure currently moving through the U.S. Congress that could create jobs by bringing more international visitors to the country by improving access to visas, according to a USTA release.
That specific measure is included in the legislation that would fund government programs for the fiscal year 2011. The legislation would create a pilot program that would use remote videoconferencing technology to record visa interviews. Ideally for the U.S. Travel Association, the technological advance could bring in more high-value travelers from countries such as Brazil, India and China.
"Exploring the use of secure videoconferencing technology creates a new avenue for us to create jobs and reap significant new revenue that would be created by an influx of visitors who want to come the U.S. but are now limited in their ability to get here by an arduous visa process," said Roger Dow, U.S. Travel's president and CEO. "Not keeping pace with the boom in international travel, in large part due to difficulty in obtaining visas, has cost the U.S. economy more than $500 billion during the past decade."
If someone wants to visit the U.S. from a location in Brazil without access to a U.S. consulate, they would need to travel all the way across their country to the nearest consulate before visiting. The cost of a trip across Brazil could be prohibitive and discourage travelers from taking the next step and traveling to the U.S.
"The average overseas visitor to the U.S. spends $4,000 per trip," Dow said. "At a time we're looking for ways to increase jobs and reduce our deficits, pursuing smart ideas like secure videoconferencing to make the process of obtaining visas more convenient for legitimate travelers with high interest in coming to America makes a lot of sense."