27 January 2011

Travel association urges ESTA policies to attract more tourists

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The US Travel Association has applauded the competitiveness initiative discussed by President Obama during his State of the Union Address and strongly urges the government to rapidly develop visa and entry policies that will attract more international visitors.


The US Travel Association has urged the expansion of the US ESTA program to increase tourism.

Roger Dow, president and CEO of the US Travel Association, said extraordinary US Visa wait times and dissatisfaction with entry processes detour overseas visitors, which costs the US valuable tourism dollars.

"We are eager to work with our elected leaders to capitalize on the more than $4,000 spent by the average overseas visitor each time they come to the United States," said Mr Dow.

The association suggests that using secure videoconferencing to conduct US visa interviews of prospective travelers in countries such as Brazil, China and India; the expansion of the trusted traveler program known as Global Entry; and the expansion of the US Visa Waiver Program would help this aim.

Under the US Visa Waiver program citizens of selected countries, including Australia and the UK, are able to travel to the US for tourism purposes by applying for a US ESTA. The ESTA is an online application that approves travel to the US within 72 hours.

Earlier this year US Travel released a study conducted by Oxford Economics that showed the country missed out on more than $500 billion in tourism spending simply by not keeping up with other major travel destinations around the world.

The US Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the $704 billion travel industry.

The American Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their  US Visa to the US Embassy.

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