08 November 2012

Obama re-election welcomed by tourism industry

Taleb Rifai, secretary general of the UN's World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), has welcomed the re-election of US President Barack Obama has a staunch supporter of world and US tourism.

US visa

President Obama secured a second term in office this week.

President Obama defeated Republican rival Mitt Romney this week after a bitterly fought campaign to secure four more years in the White House. While the election was reasonably close in America, much of the rest of the world was rooting for the incumbent, including the head of the UNWTO.

"The Obama administration has clearly understood the impact of tourism on the economy and jobs," said Mr Rifai. "The historic decision of President Obama to promote visa facilitation and to increase travel from China and Brazil are excellent policy examples."

President Obama earlier this year ordered his State Department to formulate new ways of processing US visa applications from Chinese and Brazilian tourists. The changes, which were quickly put in place and included adding consular assistance in both countries, had an almost immediate effect on the country's tourism industry.

UNWTO figures from the third quarter in 2012 show tourism earnings up 8% in the US, second in the world only to Hong Kong.

Mr Rifai is hopeful the re-elected president will continue his efforts to support tourism, both at home and abroad.

"We hope that the Obama administration will continue to support travel and tourism. As President Obama said 'the more people visit the US, the more folks will get back to work'."

The American Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries make their ESTA application.

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