The U.S. Travel Association has applauded G20 leaders for recognizing the role travel plays in job creation and economic growth and development. For the first time, travel was included in the Leaders Declaration issued at the conclusion of the summit held in Mexico.
"The U.S. travel industry applauds the G20 leaders, especially Presidents Obama and Calderon (Mexico), for recognizing the vital role travel plays in economies throughout the world," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "Policies that facilitate travel facilitate economic growth. In the U.S. alone, travel supports 14.4 million jobs and has an economic impact of $1.9 trillion."
The G20 announcement builds on the announcement earlier this year of a national travel and tourism strategy for the U.S. The national strategy sets a goal of welcoming 100 million international visitors each year by the end of 2021. It is projected that those visitors would spend an estimated $250 billion per year, creating economic growth and supporting U.S. jobs, U.S. Travel says.
In order to meet this ambitious goal, the U.S. must build strategic agreements with countries similar to that reached between Mexico and the U.K. at the G20 summit, U.S. Travel said. Additionally, expanding the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP) to include more countries would see significant growth in the rate of visits to the U.S.
If the 11 likeliest candidate countries achieved VWP status, the growth rate of their visits to the U.S. would nearly double. Adding them to the program in 2012 would generate four million visitors and $41 billion in revenue, supporting 256,000 American jobs.