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Industry leaders to debate US visa issue at WTTC Summit

Hot on the heels of today’s new report, ‘Ready for Takeoff’ released by the US Travel Association outlining a series of visa policy recommendations for the US, industry leaders at the Global Travel & Tourism Summit in Las Vegas next week will examine some of the key issues on people’s minds surrounding visas, one of the most controversial items on today’s Travel & Tourism agenda.

While the US Travel Association (USTA) states that stringent visa policies put in place after 9/11 have caused a ‘lost decade’ of tourism to the USA, as the country’s market share of long haul travel has fallen from 18% in 1999 to 12% to 2009

The opening session for the 11th Global Travel & Tourism Summit on Wednesday 18 May will take an in-depth look at the USA and how new approaches to tourism development and marketing are challenging existing visa, security and taxation policies so that Travel & Tourism can stimulate the jobs and exports that are so important for the country’s economic wellbeing.

A dedicated panel moderated by Kathleen Matthews, Executive Vice President, Global Communications & Public Affairs, Marriott International will discuss and debate these issues.

The session will kick off with a keynote speech by Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama which will be followed by a Panel Session made up of the following industry leaders:


Frits van Paasschen, President & CEO, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc
Arne Sorensen, President & COO, Marriott International
Stephen Cloobeck, Chairman & CEO, Diamond Resorts Holdings, LLC
Stephen P Holmes, Chairman & CEO, Wyndham Worldwide & Vice Chairman, WTTC
Roger Dow, President & CEO, US Travel Association
Hubert Joly, President, CEO & Director, Carlson Hotels
Some of the key questions that will inform this lively debate include:

How can a ‘new mindset’ approach help address the current challenges facing the US in terms of the impact of its visa policies on an ever-shrinking market share?
How can the USA keep up with its rivals in the race to entice overseas visitors while keeping with the government’s entry hurdles?
How can governments balance the needs of state security with the rights of individuals to travel?
What is an ‘intelligent visa policy’? How can visa policies be carried out effectively without harming the competitiveness of the country as a destination?
Why should countries invest in technological solutions for the visa problem? What kind of technological solutions exist?
The controversial subject of visa battles is just one of the pressing topics that will be discussed during the 11th Global Travel & Tourism Summit in Las Vegas, on 17 - 19 May.