A fiscal year 2014 spending measure that will make it easier for international travelers to apply for a visa to visit the United States, won the praise of the U.S. Travel Association. The bill was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operation and Related Programs.
"America's travel community is grateful to all of the members of the House State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee for creating jobs, for being forward thinking and for understanding the value of travel exports," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association.
"Videoconferencing is secure, efficient and cost effective. Its use will enable U.S. consulates to expand access to visa services to millions of potential visitors – while maintaining the highest level of security for visa interviews – without the cost of opening additional offices," Dow said.
The spending bill approved by the Subcommittee directs the Secretary of State to carry out and evaluate a pilot program using secure, remote videoconferencing technology, similar to what is used by the private sector, for conducting visa application interviews in geographically large countries, U.S. Travel said.
"Travel adds nearly $2.0 trillion per year to the U.S. economy and is America's No. 1 services export," said Dow. "By encouraging more travel, the House State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill will bring more jobs and more economic opportunity to communities across the United States."