As the Nevada economy continues to show signs of improvement, Congressman Joe Heck (NV-03) today joined with Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL) to introduce legislation that will increase travel and tourism to the U.S. and create jobs. The Jobs Originating through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act, is a bipartisan, bicameral effort to create jobs through increasing travel and reforming outdated visa laws while maintaining national security. Between 2000 and 2010, the global long-haul travel market grew by 40 percent, yet the U.S. share of the market has fallen from 17 to 12 percent during that time due to the outdated, inefficient tourist visa application process. The JOLT Act would help the United States capture a larger share of the market which will bring business travelers and tourists to destinations in Nevada.
The JOLT Act contains provisions first introduced by Rep. Heck as part of the Welcoming Business Travelers and Tourists to America Act that will help expand access to visa services for potential visitors to the U.S. without reducing or eliminating the necessary security protocols. Those provisions include faster visa processing, expedited entry for priority visitors, and the establishment of a visa video conferencing pilot program so we can examine innovative ways to address the increasing demand for visas. The JOLT Act could attract as many as 98 million more visitors to the U.S., create one million American jobs, and generate as much as $859 billion in revenue by 2020.
"As Nevada continues to diversify its economy and attract new industries to the state, we cannot lose sight of the industry that has always been the stalwart of our economy and our major generator of revenue -- tourism," Rep. Heck said. "The JOLT Act will expand access to visa services and improve an outdated visa processing system that has prevented travelers and tourists from coming to the U.S. By attracting international travelers, who on average spend $4,000 per visit, more jobs will be created and Nevada's economy will get a much-needed shot in the arm."
"The JOLT Act is a jobs and economic growth bill that harnesses the power of travel to deliver increased revenue and economic opportunity to communities all across America," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "As America's number one service export that supports one in eight U.S. jobs, travel is an economic engine that powers growth and job creation. We applaud Rep. Joe Heck and the bill's co-sponsor, Rep. Mike Quigley, for helping to bring more international visitors to the United States with the JOLT Act."
"International travel is a key growth market for the tourism industry in the U.S. and Las Vegas, and we need to make sure visitors wishing to travel here can do so in a timely and efficient manner," said Rossi Ralenkotter, president/CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. "The JOLT Act will help increase our market share of international travelers, creating jobs and further stimulating the economy. We commend Congressman Heck for sponsoring this legislation and will continue to work with the entire Nevada Congressional Delegation to advance tourism in Southern Nevada."
"The Chamber appreciates the leadership of Reps. Heck and Quigley on introducing the JOLT Act. The important reforms in this bill would address key barriers in the visa processing system that deter international business and leisure travel to the U.S." said Bruce Josten, executive vice president for Government Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The JOLT Act has been endorsed by the following groups and organizations:
Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority
US Travel Association
US Chamber of Commerce
National Association of Counties
American Hotel and Lodging Association
Intercontinental Hotels Group
National Retailers Federation
American Gaming Association
Discover America Partnership
Canadian Snowbird Association