Obama aims to make US travel more pleasant

2014-05-23 09:00


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - President Barack Obama will move Thursday to reduce airport waiting times for foreign travelers arriving in the United States in order to boost tourism, the White House said.  

Obama will visit the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York to discuss tourism, two years after establishing the goal of making the United States the world's top tourist destination.

The US is currently the world's second tourist destination after France, according to the World Tourism Organization, and Obama says that gaining the top spot would create jobs.

Obama is going to ask his secretaries of commerce and homeland security, Penny Pritzker and Jeh Johnson, to "develop a national goal to improve the entry process and reduce wait times for international travelers to the United States, and action plans at the 15 largest airports for international arrivals," a White House statement said.

It is common for international travelers arriving in the US to spend more than an hour at passport control and customs processing checkpoints at American airports, where controls there have been tightened dramatically since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

To speed things up, the Obama administration wants more checkpoints to be automated.

Congress recently gave the green light for an additional 2,000 border guards to be deployed. 

On January 19, 2012 Obama set the goal of making the United States the world's top tourism destination by, among other things, granting more visas to people from China and Brazil.

Two years later, the White House says it has made significant progress by reducing the average time people from those countries must wait to get a visa.

The White House says the total number of visas granted by the United States has gone up by 42% since 2010, reaching 9.2 million in 2013.

Obama wants the United States to lure 100 million visitors a year by 2021.

In 2013, the figure was 70 million, compared to 55 million in 2009, according to figures released by the administration.

The administration says nearly eight million jobs in America are linked to tourism.
Read more on:    travel  |  travel international  |  barack obama

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.


24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside Travel


#FindYourEscape with Traveller24

Your insider guide to exploring South Africa and the world...
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.