If the U.S. doubled the number of its tourists from Brazil, China and India in five years, it would receive $24 billion in export revenues that would support 206,300 travel-related jobs, the U.S. Travel Association announced July 7.
“Travel holds the key to achieving the president’s ambitious goal of doubling exports over the next five years,” Roger Dow, the association’s president and CEO, said in a press release.
“As the President’s Export Council begins its work, we strongly encourage the administration to consider additional methods of attracting overseas travelers,” he added.
Mr. Dow said that doubling arrivals from countries in the Visa Waiver Program would generate nearly $208 billion in spending for the U.S. economy and support more than 827,000 travel-related jobs.
The program enables nationals of 36 participating countries to travel to the U.S. for tourism for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa.
It was established to eliminate unnecessary barriers to travel, stimulating the tourism industry, and permitting the U.S. Department of State to focus consular resources in other areas.
Brazil, China and India are not among the participating countries.
Mr. Dow complimented the Travel Promotion Act for its support of promotion and communication efforts to attract tourists from other countries, calling it the “first-ever substantive” effort by the government of this sort.
“Increasing arrivals from countries that require a U.S. visa is more challenging,” he added, “but it can be done by improving access to U.S. consulates, through the use of videoconferencing technology for visa interviews and increasing officers to conduct visa interviews.”
Mr. Dow also praised the appointment of Glenn Tifton, chairman and CEO of United Airlines, and Robert Iger, president and CEO of The Walt Disney Co., to the President’s Export Council. Both are members of the travel association’s board of directors.
United Parcel Service Inc. Chairman and CEO Scott Davis also has been appointed to the export council board of 18 executives who are to advise the president on the National Export Initiative.
Mr. Obama announced the initiative during his State of the Union address in January.
To learn more about the U.S. Travel Association, go to www.ustravel.org or call Kristy Chandler at (202) 408-2172 and Cathy Keefe, (202) 408-2183.