President Obama visited the Baseball Hall of Fame yesterday to promote international tourism to the states.
Some of the points include:
Tourism is America’s most important, and largest, services export: growth in international visitors has created roughly 175,000 American jobs over the past five years, and meeting President Obama’s goal of 100 million visitors in 2021 will support hundreds of thousands of additional jobs.
The number of international visitors to the United States has grown from 55 million in 2009 to 70 million in 2013, and each overseas visitor spends on average $4,500 per visit, at American hotels, shops, restaurants, and other domestic businesses.
Steps taken by the Administration have supported this impressive growth: The State Department issued 9.2 million visas in 2013, up 42% since 2010. Waiting periods for visas in important markets like Brazil and China have dropped from as high as several months to less than five days on average. The Department of Homeland Security has significantly expanded Trusted Traveler and expedited clearance programs that improve the experience of travelers entering the United States.
Through close partnership with airports and industry, we have seen dramatic improvements to the entry process and reduction in wait times for passport control and customs processing at airports. At Dallas Fort Worth and Chicago O’Hare, a combination of measures such as Automated Passport Control kiosks and Global Entry services reduced average entry process wait times by nearly 40% over 12 months, and cut in half the number of visitors waiting longer than 30 minutes.