Release Date: Mar 27, 2012Contact: 888-249-NEWS
U.S. Chamber’s Donohue Testifies on Job Creating Potential of Travel and Tourism
Donohue Calls for Visa Reforms to Ease Business Travel and Tourism
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue today urged lawmakers to better promote the United States as an premier travel destination and to put the welcome mat back out for international visitors in order to grow the U.S. economy and create jobs.
Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security, Donohue highlighted the importance of efficient travel policies to conducting international business and called for key visa reforms to make inbound travel easier for visitors without compromising national security.
“The travel and tourism industry currently employs 7.4 million Americans and generates more than $700 billion in revenue,” said Donohue. “And when foreign visitors spend their money here, it’s counted as an export. But we are leaving travel-related jobs and revenues on the table because we’re not laying out the welcome mat for business visitors and tourists. Consider what’s at stake: If we could restore the U.S. share of the global overseas travel market to its 2000 level, we would create 1.3 million new jobs and generate $860 billion in economic activity—without costing taxpayers a dime.”
“With a struggling economy, we cannot forgo lost business, revenue, and exports because of bureaucratic delays and understaffed agencies. We need to ensure that when tourists are ready to travel and business people are ready to make deals, they come to the greatest travel destination of them all—the United States of America,” Donohue stated.
Donohue also spotlighted the business community’s support of the “Jobs Originated through Launching Travel Act” (JOLT), legislation that would improve the visa process and expand international travel by:
• Expanding the Visa Waiver Program
• Giving travelers the option to expedite visa applications for a fee
• Offering lower application fees during off-peak seasons
• Ensuring timely and predictable reviews by requiring the State Department to process applications within a 2 week time frame
Donohue’s complete testimony is available at: Donohue Testimony