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US Visitor Visa System Drives Away Tourists
« on: May 13, 2011, 04:26:47 AM »
Agence France-Presse

US travel industry leaders on Thursday called for an end to the United States' "burdensome" visitor visa program, saying it drives tourists and their job-creating dollars to other countries.

"The United States imposes unnecessary barriers on international visitors that inhibit economic growth," the US Travel Association said in a report called "Ready for Takeoff," outlining ways to increase travel to the United States.

"Specifically, a burdensome US visa system drives millions of potential travelers to other countries at an enormous cost to our economy," the report says.

The report considers every dollar spent by foreign visitors to the United States to be an export dollar, which makes travel "an easy export industry to expand and a key to closing our trade deficit."

Increasing the number of visitors to the United States could help to double exports within five years and create 1.3 million new jobs by 2020, the report says.

But a key step to achieving that is to do away with what the group called an onerous visa system.

It can take six months or longer for Brazilians and Chinese to get visas to come to the United States.

"Brazil and China are some of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Shouldn't we be getting these people to come to the United States?" Roger Dow, president of the US Travel Association said.

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