Thursday, September 20, 2012

Now, That's a Smart Way to Combat Unemployment! Visitor Numbers to the U.S. Up Significantly

The White House released a report yesterday announcing that visitor numbers to the US were up 10% in the first three months of 2012 over the same period in 2011. That translated into an additional $30 million dollars being spent in America during that period.

Whatever your political affiliation, this has to be seen as unalloyed good news. By some estimates, one out of every 11 Americans works in the tourism industry in some fashion, whether at hotels, airlines, in a restaurant that caters predominantly to visitors, what have you. When travelers come from abroad, that creates work, and helps our economy tremendously.

So how did this change come about? Will power.

President Obama ordered the State Department to improve its system for processing visas. The results? In Brazil, where the wait for a tourist visa used to be as much as 140 days, people are waiting just 2 days. In China, the wait has been cut to 5 days. And across the globe, with more staff being used to oversee visa applications, the process of getting into the U.S. has become, well, more visitor friendly. 

To read more about the report, click here for the Reuter's story.

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