There's a strong possibility that adding Taiwan to the Visa Waiver Program will double the growth rate in arrivals in less than one year, said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, welcoming an announcement by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano that Taiwan is being added to the U.S. Visa Waiver Program.
"Expansion of the Visa Waiver Program spurs increased international visitation, which has a direct economic impact on the U.S. economy. I applaud Secretary Napolitano for this announcement, and encourage Congress to work with the Administration to pass legislation that will allow additional countries that could bring additional spending to the U.S. – such as Poland and Brazil – to be added in the near future," Dow said.
According to projections by U.S. Travel, the number of Taiwanese travelers to the U.S. could reach a total of 346,000 in 2013 thanks to the Visa Waiver Program. Additionally, Taiwanese travelers will spend $1.3 billion while in the U.S. and support a total of 22,500 American jobs. When compared to 2011, this reflects an additional 55,500 visitors, an additional $213 million spending and 2,800 U.S. jobs.
Legislation that would allow for expansion of the Visa Waiver Program is currently before Congress. The Jobs Origination through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act of 2012 will create jobs and improve national security through provisions that make long-term reforms to the visa system, improve the entry process and expand the Visa Waiver Program, U.S. Travel said.
The announcement was made at the Travel and Tourism Conference, part of the State Department's Global Business Conference Series. The meeting, held at the State Department, was also attended by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and marked the first time Secretary Clinton has met directly with the travel industry to discuss ways to continue to increase travel exports, U.S. Travel said.