Identifying means of economic opportunity, 104 CEOs of various U.S. firms and travel organizations that serve inbound international visitors to the U.S. joined the U.S. Travel Association in a letter of support to President Obama for his recent statements advocating progress to help Brazil and Chile meet requirements for the Visa Waiver Program.
The Visa Waiver Program permits business and leisure travelers from 36 countries to visit the U.S. for up to 90 days without obtaining a non-immigrant visitor visa. In 2009, the U.S. welcomed 15.7 million visitors from countries in the program—two-thirds of all overseas visitors. While here, they spent nearly $57 billion across 20 travel-related industries, including lodging, dining and transportation, supporting 492,000 American jobs and generating $8.4 billion in government tax revenue.
“If we doubled travel from Brazil and Chile, we would generate $10.3 billion in spending and support more than 95,000 U.S. jobs,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “The travel industry appreciates President Obama’s attention of this great economic opportunity.”