NTA Applauds Obama’s Actions to Promote Travel
NTA, formerly known as the National Tour Association, issued a public statement applauding Obama administration initiatives to promote tourism business. President Obama ordered a series of initiatives targeted at increasing travel and tourism in the United States.
“More than ever before, the U.S. travel and tourism industry is now viewed as a key contributor to the nation’s economic vibrancy,” said NTA President Lisa Simon. “With President Obama’s action today, the travel and tourism industry has reached an all-time high in terms of vigor and visibility. His executive order, combined with the recent creation of Brand USA and ongoing Congressional hearings on travel issues, shows the vital economic contributions of tourism.”
The initiatives include making the visa application process faster and simpler; expanding the Global Entry program, which provides expedited entry for trusted travelers; and creating a task force to develop a strategy for promoting travel to and within the United States. “The president has sent a clear message about tourism’s positive impact on job creation and economic growth,” said Simon. “We applaud the administration’s work to ease entry processes for international visitors.”
NTA has a special appreciation for the benefits of streamlining the visa application process. Under a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the association operates the NTA Visit USA Center in China, which has seen a 286 percent increase in travelers participating with its China Inbound Program during the last two years. According to Simon, Chinese citizens often must travel great distances and wait for weeks to receive a visa to enter the United States. Increasing the visa application process has been one of several tourism-related subjects of Senate hearings in recent months. Obama’s order calls for a 40 percent increase in the capacity for visa processing during the coming year. It also expands the visa waiver program.
Brand USA is the promotional arm of the Corporation for Travel Promotion, established by the Travel Promotion Act of 2009 with the goal of increasing the number of international inbound travelers. Obama’s executive order creates the Task Force on Travel and Competitiveness with the charge to work with Brand USA to increase the United States’ market share of worldwide travel. The task force is also charged with promoting travel to U.S. national parks and expanding tourism opportunities in rural communities.
Founded in 1951, NTA is an association for tour operators, suppliers and destination marketing organizations serving travelers to, from and within North America. For more information, visit www.ntaonline.com.