In a first for the US, President Barack Obama today announced a national strategy on travel and tourism to boost travel in the United States. The US travel industry is a cornerstone of the US economy, representing 1.8 trillion in economic output and supporting 14 million American jobs.
“We are elated with this news from Washington, DC,” GVB General Manager Joann Camacho said, “President Obama knows the importance of travel and tourism to our nation’s economy, and recognizes the role this industry can play in spurring economic growth, employment, and increased opportunities for all our people. This newfound support from his administration will help us as we continue to work with Governor Calvo, Congresswoman Bordallo, the 31st Guam legislature, and our industry stakeholders to attain a China visa waiver for Guam.”
According to a White House statement, today’s announcement calls for a national strategy to make the United States the world’s top travel and tourism destination, as part of a comprehensive effort to spur job creation. The number of travelers from emerging economies with growing middle classes - such as China, Brazil, and India - is projected to grow by 135 percent, 274 percent and 50 percent, respectively, by 2016 when compared to 2010.
The UN World Travel Organization (UNWTO) estimated 50 million outbound travelers from Mainland China every year. By the year 2020, that number is expected to increase to 100 million.
Camacho added: “China presents a unique opportunity to expand and diversify our tourism base. If Guam were to get a 1 percent market share of 100 million travelers a year, that will equate to 1 million additional arrivals to Guam and an additional US$5 billion dollars in economic support that will provide thousands of additional jobs for our local people.”
President Obama will also sign an Executive Order and charge several government agencies to take part in efforts and new initiatives to significantly increase travel. Some of the initiatives include: a new pilot program and rule change for visa processing in China and Brazil, a final rule to expand and make the Global Entry program permanent, appoint new members to the US Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, and the Nomination of Taiwan to the Visa Waiver Program.
“This is the first time our country has had a national strategy and set goals for the amount of visitors we want to welcome to our country. The timing of the President’s announcement could not be better. Travel is an essential industry for our nation and a bipartisan issue that can unite our country and rally us forward. Not only will this increase traffic to America’s wonderful destinations and attractions, but nearly half of the travelers will come to attend conferences and tradeshows,” said Roger Dow, President and CEO for the US Travel Association, “The president has put forward his vision, and the travel industry is ready to heed the call. US Travel looks forward to working with the Administration to improve America’s economy and create more American jobs.”
GVB has partnered with the US Travel Association to increase travel to and within the United States. Among US Travel’s objectives for 2012 will be for the US government to pursue concrete actions to increase international travel, business travel, participation in meetings and conventions, and leisure travel throughout America. Policies US Travel will champion include expansion of the Visa Waiver Program to Brazil, Argentina, and Chile; further improvements to our entry process for international guests; streamlining the TSA experience for trusted travelers; and building an aviation system that encourages greater air travel.