“President Obama should be congratulated for signing today’s Executive Order and announcing a suite of initiatives to significantly increase travel and tourism in the United States. It is a major step forward for the world’s biggest travel and tourism economy.” That is the reaction of David Scowsill, President and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council to today’s major news.
In total, the industry contributes US$1.3 trillion to the GDP of the United States and is responsible for sustaining jobs for almost 15 million people. In total it is 9 percent of the US economy.
Today’s announcement should play a major part in driving growth of the US economy at a critical time. Figures from the travel industry and Bureau of Economic Analysis show that long-haul travelers spend on average US$4,000 on each visit. It is no surprise that the US Administration is taking much-needed steps to expand the visa waiver program; reduce the time taken to wait for an interview and increase the capacity to process visas in China and Brazil in 40 percent during this year.
David Scowsill continued: “Today’s announcement is the result of a long dialogue between the industry and the Administration, which included the participation of Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, at the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Global Summit in Las Vegas in 2011. It shows that President Obama really gets it; he understands the economic and social value of travel and tourism. The President should be congratulated for taking a bold and important step.
“I would urge other countries to look at the steps they can take to expand their own travel and tourism industries. Access to countries remains probably the biggest single challenge affecting the industry. For this reason, it will form a major part of the discussions at WTTC’s first Regional Summit to be held in Riviera Maya, Mexico, May 16-18, 2012 and hosted by President Felipe Calderon.”