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More Aggressive Tourism Policies, Says NRA

The National Restaurant Association, along with several of the country’s tourism leaders, requested the U.S. Department of Commerce to take more assertive actions to expand America’s share of the global tourism market.

Members of the intensive tourism campaign Discover America Partnership, of which the NRA is a member, stated in its comments to the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration that “the opportunities that the travel sector brings to America’s labor market has been alleviating a lot of difficulties that the country faces during these challenging economic times.”

The partnership underlined the fact that should the U.S. government fail to become more assertive in its tourism expansion efforts, the nation would be facing the risk of a continuing drop in its capability to draw international visitors to the country, just when international tourism is escalating to new heights.

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the business leaders’ forum for travel and tourism, has released reliable forecasts that global travel is expected to increase from its present statistics of 930 million visits to nearly 1.3 billion visits by the year 2020.

Discover America Partnership appealed to the country’s leaders that a goal be set to recapture a 17% share of the worldwide travel market, an increase from the 12% that we have today. Maintaining this 17% share until the year 2020 means an additional 98 million travelers and tourists to America.

Among the concentrations that the partnership emphasized in its comments are changes to the country’s visa processing, which includes more user-friendly web-based consular services; the implementation of mobile interviews for potential travelers’ visa applications; and setting up visa satellite offices in China, India and Brazil.

The Discover America Partnership is an alliance that comprises labor unions, corporations, business organizations, mayors, tourism officials and sectors that advocate for more solid American tourism policies. Included in its campaigns are to educate policymakers in the economic relevance of tourism; emphasize the hindrances that prevent the country from taking advantage of the full potential of the international travel market; and present low-cost solutions that will create more jobs for Americans, like more apron-clad waiters and waitresses in hotels and restaurants.

The NRA has been actively involved in the re-launching of the Partnership last year, knowing that the travel and tourism industry is a key driver of customer traffic and sales in the restaurant industry.

As NRA president and CEO Dawn Sweeney said, “the NRA is one of the leaders of the Discover America Partnership, and we shall work hand in hand to achieve sensible reforms that will give our apron-clad restaurant employees the opportunity once again to welcome millions of new visitors to the U.S. and to our restaurants, a leading private sector employer in our country and an important engine of economic growth.”