The White House released a press statement Thursday articulating the importance of international tourism in the U.S. economy. The administration reported that revenue from international tourism, goods, and services in the United States in 2011 rose more than 8% from 2010. The total spending of international visitors to the U.S. last year is estimated at around $153 billion, and the total number of international tourists has consistently been on the rise for several months now.
The Obama Administration took this opportunity to stress its dedication to promoting an increase in the U.S. tourism industry, which supports more than 7.6 million jobs in this country. The White House announced several initiatives, including the National Travel and Tourism Strategy, aimed at bolstering both international and domestic travel in the United States. The administration also hopes to encourage tourism in local areas that have traditionally received fewer visitors.
An important component of the President’s strategy is to encourage improvements in the Visa Waiver Program and visa interview processes. Improvements in these areas would simplify travel for many foreign travelers, and make the United States a more attractive tourist destination internationally.
For more details relating to the Obama Administration’s new tourism initiative, please refer to the official White House press release.