Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) today commended the Obama Administration's newly released "National Travel and Tourism Strategy," a federal government-wide effort to promote travel and tourism to the United States that could see a $250 billion increase in visitor spending per year.
The tourism strategy unveiled today calls for boosting international tourism through increasing resources for visa processing in high demand countries like China and Brazil, cutting wait times for visa processing, and other reforms to cut red tape. These goals are similar to those included in Congresswoman Hirono's bipartisan VISIT USA Act.
The strategy also calls for bolstering the efforts of BrandUSA, the public/private partnership for promoting international travel that was created by the Travel Promotion Act of 2010, which Congresswoman Hirono cosponsored. Hawaii's own Roy Yamaguchi serves on the Board of BrandUSA, which recently launched its first international campaign to promote the U.S. abroad.
"The plan released today is a fitting way to acknowledge National Travel and Tourism Week. It also recognizes what we in Hawaii have known for years--travel and tourism create jobs," said Congresswoman Hirono, "I applaud President Obama for making this a national priority and the Travel and Tourism Task Force for setting a bold goal: 100 million international visitors by 2021. Last year we had a record 62 million international visitors nationwide.
"Supporting our travel and tourism industry isn't a partisan issue--it's a jobs issue. Congress has already acted on a bipartisan basis to pass the Federal Aviation Administration bill which makes a critical four year investment in strengthening our nation's NextGen air transportation system, which is a component of this strategy. We could make even more progress by passing my VISIT USA Act, which would help meet even more of the goals laid out in the plan.
"I will continue to work to move this and other bipartisan, pro-travel legislation through Congress. I look forward to collaborating with the Administration, my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and the visitor industry in Hawaii and across the country to see the overall strategy brought to life."
To read more about Congresswoman Hirono's bipartisan VISIT USA Act, which would increase the capacity to quickly and securely process visa applications--without requiring significant new federal spending, please click here.
On January 19, 2012, President Obama signed an Executive Order creating the Task Force on Travel and Competitiveness. Led by the Departments of Commerce and Interior, this government-wide task force was charged with developing a National Travel and Tourism Strategy to expand job creation.
The National Travel and Tourism Strategy seeks to boost visitors to the U.S. over the next nine years. The strategy is composed of five goals and pathways to achieve each one:
1.) Promote the United States
2.) Enable and Enhance Travel and Tourism to and Within the United States
3.) Provide World-Class Customer Service and Visitor Experience
4.) Coordinate Across Government
5.) Conduct Research and Measuring Results