The U.S. Travel Association applauded the reported nomination of Taiwan to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Currently, 36 countries participate in the VWP, which allows leisure or business travel to the U.S. for stays of no more than 90 days without a visa. U.S.Travel also urges the government to continue expanding this program, including Brazil and Chile.
"The U.S. will reap strong economic benefits by adding Taiwan to the Visa Waiver Program," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the association. "Increasing travel, particularly business travel, between the two countries presents a great economic opportunity. Travel to the U.S. increased 49 percent from South Korea the year after it was admitted into the program, and we expect Taiwan to reflect that trend as well."
VWP countries are the largest source of inbound overseas travel to the United States, U.S. Travel says. In 2010, more than 17 million VWP visitors, 65 percent of all visitors from overseas, traveled to the United States. While here, they spent nearly $61 billion, including international airfares, supporting 433,000 American jobs along with $12 billion in payroll, and generating $9 billion in government tax revenues.
Countries in the VWP must agree to adopt strict security measures, strong travel document standards and enhanced information-sharing agreements with the United States. In addition, each traveler from a participating country must obtain pre-clearance to board a flight to the U.S. through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization.
"The U.S. government should continue expanding this program by forming bilateral working groups with countries like Brazil and Chile in order to outline specific actions they must take to meet the VWP requirements in the near future," said Dow.