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May 11, 2012

White House Unveils National Travel & Tourism Strategy

- by Bill Chapin

The White House on Thursday presented the results of an executive order that President Obama signed in January to encourage domestic and international tourism and travel in the United States. The cornerstone of the effort is the National Travel & Tourism Strategy. Prepared by the Commerce and Interior departments, the document maps out steps the government can take to meet that goal, including the creation of a national tourism office. Other actions highlighted by the administration include:

–Continuing to support Brand USA, a nonprofit public-private partnership that launched an international marketing campaign in April.
–Using such assets as the U.S.’s diplomatic presence abroad and social media to promote travel opportunities.
–Providing online resources to international travelers.
–Partnering with local tourism officials to develop itineraries.
–Working with Congress to expand and improve the Visa Waiver Program.
–Streamlining the visa process and reducing wait times for interviews.
–Focusing on China and Brazil by doubling the number of diplomats performing consular work and investing $68 million to improve and increase State Department facilities.
–Reducing wait times at airports by expanding trusted traveler programs.
–Making information about visitation to public lands available through a database that business can use to develop web apps, for example.
–Developing interpretive content for non-English speakers.
–Providing resources for small businesses in the travel industry.
–Increasing sales of the America the Beautiful annual pass.

The strategy sets a goal of attracting 100 million visitors annually by 2021, resulting in $250 billion of spending. whitehouse.gov

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