Obama seeks increase in foreign tourists to US

McClatchy Washington BureauMay 22, 2014 

President Obama travels to Cooperstown, N.Y. today to deliver remarks at the Baseball Hall of Fame, annoucing what the White House says are efforts to increase travel and tourism in the U.S.

Before leaving for N.Y., Obama will sign a presidential memorandum to make it easier for foreign tourists to visit the U.S. and meet with travel and tourism industry CEOs and senior executives at the White House.

The White House says the industry supports nearly 8 million jobs across the country and is a "major driver" of the economy.

Obama's National Travel and Tourism Strategy in 2012 set a goal of 100 million international visitors annually by the end of 2021 and the White House says its "on track" to meet the goal. It says growth in international visitors has created roughly 175,000 American jobs over the past five years.

The new executive actions include expediting the entry process for travelers, beginning at the 15 largest U.S. airports. The White House says it wants to replicate sucess its seen at Dallas Fort Worth and Chicago O’Hare airports where, through a combination of streamlining processes and upgrading technologies, wait times were reduced significantly.

The Department of Homeland Security will expand the use of technology to streamline the entry process, including expanding the use of automated passport control kiosks to 25 airports by the end of the year.

Commerce, State, Agriculture, Homeland Security, Transportation and Interior will launch coordinated strategies with BrandUSA in 10 international markets, creating a “one-stop” to support international bids for major global events and launching a new “virtual visitor services” platform to increase tourism on public lands and waters.


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