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IMPROVING TRAVEL FOR THE INTERNATIONAL VISITOR President’s Initiatives & Brand USA, Visa Reforms & Waiver Program, Global Entry Program
Stephen Perry President & CEO New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau � � The White House has begun to realize the travel and tourism industry is a major commodity to our economy and have pushed many efforts to reform the industry Through reducing barriers to international travel by formulating a National Travel & Tourism Strategy, improving visa wait times and waiver programs, and expanding the Global Entry Program, internationl group and leisure travel will become an even bigger asset to our country � Attract 100 million visitors by end of 2021, spending an estimate of $250 billion annually
National Travel & Tourism Strategy Promoting the United States • Expand promotional efforts to market the United States • Communicate tourism opportunities in America to a larger domestic and international audience • Coordinate with Brand USA • Provide new resources to visitors to identify destinations and plan trips Enabling and Enhancing travel and tourism to and within the United States • Reduce international barriers • Expand the Visa Waiver Program • Enhance U. S. visa processing • Expand trusted traveler programs • Improve processes for arrival and aviation security screening Providing worldclass customer service and visitor experience • Ensure Federal and private sector workers are equipped to serve and maximize business opportunities • Provide dynamic content in the most in-demand languages • Continually respond to new language and information needs Coordinating across government • Prioritize support for travel and tourism • Reinvigorate the Tourism Policy Council • Encourage coordinated Federal participation in public-private tourism collaborations • Establish a national travel and tourism office Conducting research and measuring results • Conduct high-quality research on travel and tourism issues and trends • Use performance metrics and accountability to ensure continual progress on goals and strategies outlined in the National Strategy
Developing the National Travel & Tourism Strategy January • President Obama issues an executive order charging several agencies with efforts to increase travel to and within the U. S. • USTA met with DOI, DOC, and other travel associations to discuss recommendations February • DOC and DOI partner to co-chair a task force to develop a strategy • Agency personnel present short-term goals to increase travel to and within the U. S. this summer • Federal Register notice issued to solicit comments and recommendations from the public • USTA and USTTAB submit policy recommendations for strategy March • Final ideas for short-term travel gains issued April • Longer term national strategy submitted to the President May • President releases the first-ever National Travel & Tourism Strategy
• Established by the Travel Promotion Act in 2010 to spearhead the nation's first global marketing effort to promote the United States as a premier travel destination and communicate U. S. entry/exit policies and procedures. • Formed as the Corporation for Travel Promotion, the public-private entity began operations in May 2011 and does business as Brand USA. • Brand USA works in close partnership with the travel industry to maximize the economic and social benefits of travel. Through its call-to-action— www. Discover. America. com—Brand USA inspires travelers to explore the United States of America's boundless possibilities. May-July 2012 Brand USA Global Campaign launches in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Japan
Visa Reforms The U. S. Visa Process EFFECTS � Since 2000, long-haul arrivals to the U. S. have increased by less than two percent, from nearly 26 million to 26. 4 million in 2010, despite a worldwide increase of 60 million long-haul travelers over the same decade. � Between 2000 and 2010, the United States' share of global long-haul travel fell from 17 percent to just 12. 4 percent.
Visa Process is Problematic
Visa Process Improvements Total Visas Issued 1200000 1000000 34% 800000 42% 600000 2011 400000 200000 0 2010 China Brazil
Visa Process Improvements � � � Since June 2011, visa wait times have decreased 34% in Brazil from 93 days to 32 days by December 2011. Visa wait times in China have decreased 16% from 48 days to 8 days. Throughout 2011, USTA pushed policymakers to consider opportunities to expand the visa waiver program to include Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Poland. Currently, the visa waiver program allows for 90 -day visa-free travel for 36 countries. In January 2012, the State Department announced a pilot program waiving visa interview requirements fro the following low-risk applicants: ◦ Individuals who are reapplying for a visa that has expired within the last 48 months ◦ In Brazil only, children under the age of 15 and adults over the age of 66
2012 Visa Process Improvements � 50 new consular officers being assigned to China and Brazil � A new embassy consular facility will be opened in Beijing to increase visa interview capacity in Beijing by 50% � some consular posts in China and Brazil are staying open for 12 hours per day to process visa applicants � Visa interview wait times at all 5 posts in China are less than 6 days � Wait times at one consular office in Brazil is 10 days but wait times in others are still too high
JOLT Act Setting a ten day visa processing standard Allowing more countries to qualify for the visa waiver program Incentivizing travel from Canada Permitting the state department to extend visa validity periods Providing visa incentives to travelers during low-peak seasons
2012 Visa Reform Goals � Increase non-immigrant visa processing capacity in China and Brazil by 40% � Ensuring 80% of non-immigrant visa applicants are interviewed within three weeks of receipt of application � Increasing efforts to expand the Visa Waiver Program � Expanding participation in the Global Entry Program
Visa Waiver Program 2012 Initiatives Visa Waiver Program Enhanced Security & Reform Act Secretary of State formally nominated Taiwan for the visa waiver program Israel added to list of countries eligible for E-2 Visas U. S. and Brazil commit to work together to ensure entrance of Brazil into the VWP
Global Entry Program � Allows enrollees to move through inspection process in less than one minute by using an automated kiosk for entry � More than 246, 000 members and 131 Global Entry kiosks at 20 airports � White House will expand Global Entry to four additional airports- Minneapolis, Charlotte, Denver, and Phoenix � Global Entry Program and expedited clearance available in airports that service approximately 97% of all international visitors
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