President Trump remarked in January to the world’s political and economic leaders that “America is open for business.” The Visit U.S. Coalition believes this vision is central to reversing the troubling decline in the U.S. share of global overseas travel that began to occur in 2016. Tens of thousands of American jobs and billions of dollars of traveler spending are at stake if the U.S. cannot reverse this trend, beat our global competition, and win back more international travelers.
Visit U.S. stands ready to partner with the Administration and Congress to regain the nation’s lost share of the global travel market by 2020. Embracing policies that enable America to reach this goal and securely welcome 88 million international visitors will directly support 1.3 million U.S. jobs and create a total of $294 billion in travel exports – crucial to achieving the Administration’s economic goals. This bold, short-term objective supports the longer-term visitor goal recommended by the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board to the Secretary of Commerce. The coalition endorses the following positions to achieve this goal.
Embrace international travel to the U.S. as a national priority
- The Administration and Congress should promote the United States as a premier destination and actively welcome international visitors to America.
- Support travel promotion efforts around the world through Brand USA, a public private partnership which leverages private funds and fees paid by international travelers to market the United States abroad.
- Designate a senior Administration official to focus on elevating travel and tourism as a national priority.
Expand intelligence sharing and streamline the travel entry process
- Build stronger international security partnerships and make America safer by developing a roadmap of new partner countries for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and aggressively pursue policy changes that will allow for new entrants.
- Rename the VWP to reflect the security benefits it bestows upon the U.S and our partners.
Make America’s visa system more secure and accessible to international travelers
- Promote that America is “Open for Business” by expanding access to travel visas, developing criteria for 10-year travel visa validity with appropriate countries, and increasing the number of visa processing facilities in high demand countries.
- Gather data on the potential impact that increased utilization of secure technology will have on visa processing, addressing staffing needs at key international locations, and to better understand trends for visa refusals in crucial/high-demand markets.
Increase security and efficiency in America’s travel screening systems at U.S ports of entry
- Expand awareness and participation in trusted traveler programs like Global Entry, Nexus, Sentri and Preclearance to more international markets.
- Promote the adoption of innovative technology for a more secure and streamlined travel experience.
- Increase U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers at our ports of entry and improve port of entry infrastructure.
Background: The Visit U.S. Coalition represents a broad cross-section of industries that have come together to address the decline in international travelers to the U.S. and resulting opportunity cost to the U.S. economy and jobs. Coalition members include: American Gaming Association, American Hotel & Lodging Association, American Resort Development Association, American Society of Association Executives, Asian American Hotel Owners Association, Cruise Lines International Association, International Association of Exhibitions and Events, International Franchise Association, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation, Society of Independent Show Organizers, The Real Estate Roundtable, Travel Technology Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the U.S. Travel Association.