Discover America Partnership Wins U.S. Chamber Support

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce put its support behind today’s launch of the Discover America Partnership, a broad coalition to advance visa and entry reforms for international travelers. The Discover America Partnership, under the leadership of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Travel Association, is a lobbying and grassroots campaign to advance reforms that will enable the U.S. to regain the 17 percent market share of overseas travelers that it had in 2000 by 2015.

“Our nation’s travel policies—and the perception of these policies—have deterred business travelers and tourists from visiting the U.S.,” said Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “In addition to the impact on the travel industry, these policies discourage international business travelers from coming to the U.S. to train, purchase products, and participate in meetings and other business activities.

“The creation of the Discover America Partnership is an important step in highlighting the need for visa and entry reforms,” Donohue continued. “This partnership will educate policymakers and opinion leaders about the economic significance of tourism and business travel, highlight the barriers that prevent the U.S. from maximizing its potential in the global travel market, and present the low or no cost solutions that are necessary for the U.S. to stay competitive and create jobs.”

The chamber cited a report released today by the U.S. Travel Association that showed that long-haul arrivals to the U.S. have increased by less than 2 percent, despite a worldwide increase of 60 million long-haul travelers over the same decade. If the U.S. could restore its share of the global long-haul travel market by 2015 to the 2000 level of 17 percent, and sustain this level through 2020, it would add nearly $390 billion in U.S. exports and create 1.3 million American jobs, the report showed.