US to be top tourist destination in the world Obama

first_imgIn an effort to boost US tourism and employment, President Barack Obama has ordered the streamlining on visa processing for visitors but could this affect Australia’s inbound tourism?Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) Managing Director Felicia Mariani said the move “is a serious threat to the competitiveness of Australia’s inbound tourism” with the presidential directive clearly recognizing the importance of the tourism industry to the US economy.“Since the major announcement of the formation of the US Travel Corporation last year, America is in overdrive in regaining lost ground and consolidating their efforts to recover market share.” Ms Mariani said.President Barack Obama said the new policy will assist in cutting through red tape to make it easier for overseas visitors to come to the US especially those from China and Brazil, Reuters reported.“I want America to be the top tourist destination in the world,” President Obama said.“The more folks who visit America, the more Americans we get back to work. It is that simple.” He added.Some of the steps announced include, an order for the government to increase non-immigrant visa processing capacity in China and Brazil by 40 percent in 2012.A pilot program to simplify and speed up the visa process for applicants from China and Brazil with the ability to waive interviews for low-risk applicants Plus the creation of an interagency task force to develop recommendations for expanding international tourism.Ms Mariani warned that it is vital for Australia to start taking action in the areas that will remove the barriers to the country’s performance and success.   “Now is the time for us to take an honest look at our performance and competitiveness and plan for how we will stay in front of the pack.”“We can’t afford to wait until we have to play catch up, as the US is doing now with this announcement,” Ms Mariani added.Recent figures show that in the last 10 years, the U.S. has seen a decrease in market share of spending by international travelers from 17 percent to 11 percent which is as a result of international competition and increased security.“We need to be focused, brutally honest and committed to driving change both at an industry and government level.” President Barack Obama orders streamlining of foreign tourist visasImage source: USA Today Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.Plast_img read more

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