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In a move to reassure travel industry leaders that the United States prioritizes tourism in the national economy and will seek to rebuild it after the deleterious effects of the recession, Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Barack Obama, announced at Global Travel & Tourism Summit that the U.S. wants to “help make travel easy and safe, attract international visitors and spur business.”
An article in the Washington Post explained that the financial bailouts geared towards the automotive and financial industries left many in the tourism field feeling slighted, despite tourism’s roughly equal contribution to the economy. The article outlines the current health of national tourism and opinions from travel executies who feel that the White House is not doing enough.
White House representatives, for their part, maintained that advancements are being made and that the Obama administration remains committed to building both domestic and international U.S. tourism.
At the summit, Jarrett and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood touted investments in high-speed rail, the creation of a public-private corporation to promote tourism in the United States and agreements to expand international and cargo air routes. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was scheduled to talk about safety at the conference on Thursday…
Jarrett said the United States is working to expand its ability to process tourist visas for international travelers, with the State Department hiring 700 new officers in 2010 and creating about 100 consular positions overseas since 2007.