Release Date: Oct 20, 2011Contact: 888-249-NEWS
U.S. Chamber Applauds Introduction of the “VISIT USA Act”
‘For Too Long, We Have Created Barriers, And Too Many Hoops And Hurdles, Which Act To Deter Visitors From Other Countries Coming To The U.S. To Spend Their Money And Create Jobs,’ Says Donohue
WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue issued the following statement today supporting the introduction of the “Visa Improvements to Stimulate International Tourism to the United States of America Act” (VISIT USA Act):
“In September, the Chamber sent an open letter to President Obama and all members of Congress recommending specific steps that could be taken to spur faster job creation without increasing the deficit. One of the six recommendations included welcoming more tourists and business visitors to the United States. Senators Chuck Schumer and Mike Lee have made an important step towards that goal with the introduction of the “VISIT USA Act.”
“This legislation includes a number of key provisions that promote travel to the United States, including necessary updates to the Visa Waiver Program which would allow the Secretary of Homeland Security to add additional program countries after they have successfully met the necessary security requirements. Among other important provisions, this bill would also allow the State Department to offer premium processing for visitors that require expedited visa processing.
“Travel and tourism—a sector dominated by small businesses—accounts for more than $700 billion in revenues and 7.4 million American jobs. When business visitors travel to the United States to buy products or attend conferences, training, and trade shows, they strengthen America’s role as the center of innovation and global commerce. These important reforms could help the United States restore its share of the travel market to its 2000 level of 17 percent and create an additional 1.3 million jobs by 2020.
“For too long, we have created barriers, and too many hoops and hurdles, which act to deter visitors from other countries coming to the United States to spend their money and create jobs. This is a loss we can ill afford in today’s economy. We can address these barriers and still protect the security of the United States. The Schumer-Lee bill meets these twin goals and we look forward to working with the Congress to achieve enactment of this important legislation.”