US TRAVEL ASSOCIATION HAILS STEPS TOWARDS LOWERING VISA WAITS
The US Travel Association has hailed a series of major wins for the country’s travel and tourism sector in the Senate, including a new federal post dedicated to the industry.
US Travel Association president and chief executive Geoff Freeman hailed the passing of a US government funding bill, including the Omnibus Travel and Tourist Act, “a tremendous win for travellers, the travel industry and America’s economy”.
The bill will create a new assistant secretary of travel and tourism role within the US Department of Commerce, meaning the industry will have dedicated representation at American’s top table.
“The idea to create a presidentially appointed, US Senate-confirmed position to lead federal travel policy has been around for decades,” said Freeman. “Thanks to a bipartisan and bicameral group of congressional leaders, the United States will now join all G20 countries with a senior federal official focused on travel.”
Freeman said the incumbent would be vital to the association’s ambitions to lobby the US government, in particular, for action on reducing US visitor visa wait times, which it says can run to between 400 and 800 days for would-be arrivals from some key source markets.
“The assistant secretary will play an important role as we partner with government to lower visitor visa wait times, modernise security screening and leverage new technologies to make travel more seamless and secure,” added Freeman.