SANTA MONICA CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU JOINS THE U.S. TRAVEL ASSOCIATION IN APPLAUDING NATIONAL STRATEGY TO BOOST TRAVEL AND TOURISM
WASHINGTON, DC - January 20, 2012 - In a first for the U.S., President Barack Obama yesterday announced a national strategy on travel and tourism to boost travel in the United States. The U.S. travel industry is a cornerstone of the U.S. economy, representing 1.8 trillion in economic output and supporting 14 million American jobs.
"We are thrilled that President Obama sees the value of drawing international travelers to the United States," said Misti Kerns, President and CEO of Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau. "Less than half of Santa Monica's visitor population comes from outside the U.S. and we are always looking to grow our international visitors, who tend to stay in the destination longer, spend more money and use public transportation while they are here."
"This industry further contributes to Santa Monica's successful economy by supporting more than 10,000 local jobs which cannot be outsourced," said Santa Monica Mayor, Richard Bloom.
"Tourism is a critical component to the strength of our local economy and quality of life of our residents," said Santa Monica City Manager, Rod Gould. "TOT (transient occupancy tax) from our hotels generated close to $34 million to the City of Santa Monica's general fund in 2010. This enables the city to maintain the excellent service that is its hallmark."
According to a White House statement, yesterday's announcement calls for a national strategy to make the United States the world's top travel and tourism destination, as part of a comprehensive effort to spur job creation. The number of travelers from emerging economies with growing middle classes - such as China, Brazil, and India - is projected to grow by 135%, 274% and 50% respectively by 2016 when compared to 2010.
President Obama will also sign an Executive Order and charge several government agencies to take part in efforts and new initiatives to significantly increase travel. Some of the initiatives include: a new pilot program and rule change for visa processing in China and Brazil, a final rule to expand and make the Global Entry program permanent, appoint new members to the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, and the Nomination of Taiwan to the Visa Waiver Program.
"This is the first time our country has had a national strategy and set goals for the amount of visitors we want to welcome to our country. The timing of the President's announcement could not be better. Travel is an essential industry for our nation and a bipartisan issue that can unite our country and rally us forward. Not only will this increase traffic to America's wonderful destinations and attractions, but nearly half of the travelers will come to attend conferences and tradeshows," said Roger Dow, president and CEO for the U.S. Travel Association. "The president has put forward his vision and the travel industry is ready to heed the call. U.S. Travel looks forward to working with the Administration to improve America's economy and create more American jobs."
Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau has partnered with the U.S. Travel Association to increase travel to and within the United States. Among U.S. Travel's objectives for 2012 will be for the U.S. government to pursue concrete actions to increase international travel, business travel, participation in meetings and conventions and leisure travel throughout America. Policies U.S. Travel will champion include expansion of the Visa Waiver Program to Brazil, Argentina and Chile; further improvements to our entry process for international guests; streamlining the TSA experience for trusted travelers; and building an aviation system that encourages greater air travel.
Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau (SMCVB) is a non-profit organization designed to increase visitor expenditures, tourism revenues and local employment opportunities through the promotion of Santa Monica as a travel destination. For travel and accommodation information or a free copy of the Official Visitors Guide, the public can write to the Santa Monica Visitor Center, 1920 Main Street Suite B, Santa Monica, CA 90405; call (800) 544-5319 or (310) 393-7593; visit www.santamonica.com; or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow SMCVB on Twitter @GoSantaMonica or become a FaceBook fan at http://www.facebook.com/visitsantamonica. Visitors can also now download the Santa Monica app at http://www.santamonica.com/app for both iPhone and Android phones.
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