SMCVB Applauds New National Strategy To Boost Travel, Tourism

Friday, 20 Jan 2012, 4:29:00 AM

Mirror Staff

The Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau is applauding a new national strategy to boost travel and tourism.

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 percent, 274 percent and 50 percent 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.

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