Despite the divisions in Washington over economic policy, the U.S. Travel Association's recommendation on visa reform may be gaining traction. The association commended the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness for hailing visa reform as a key to creating jobs, noting that the Council’s interim report to President Obama cites U.S. Travel’s plan for visa reform. The report states that improving the visa process positions the United States to compete for global travelers.
“Accelerating visa reform means accelerating U.S. job creation,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “The travel industry commends the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness for understanding the economic power of international travelers, and we call on President Obama to implement the Council’s recommendations as soon as possible.”
The report states that improving the visa process can help the United States compete for the global tourist dollar while protecting national security. U.S. Travel reports the Council’s recommendations include:
• Reducing wait times for visa interviews to days rather than months
• Increasing State Department and other federal personnel with a greater focus on inbound tourism promotion and visa processing speed
• Expanding the visa waiver program
Last year, international travel in the United States supported 931,000 jobs directly in the U.S. travel industry and another 856,000 jobs in other industries. A U.S. Travel Association report identified difficulties international travelers experience with the U.S. visa system, which causes many to choose other countries for business or leisure travel.
To help advance the cause, U.S. Travel Association recently formed the Discover America Partnership, a nationwide coalition to advocate for visa reform, and consensus continues to build around the issue.
Additionally, new legislation in the House and Senate would bring international business and leisure travelers to America and help to create U.S. jobs by reforming our visa system, U.S. Travel reports.