America Is Open for Business

Yesterday, President Obama traveled to Disney World to announce new initiatives to significantly increase travel and tourism in the United States. The fact is, each year, tens of millions of people from around the world visit the U.S.  In 2010, the travel and tourism industry generated over $134 billion dollars for the American economy.  It supported 7.5 million jobs in 2010. The President wants these numbers to grow. 

He traveled down to the Magic Kingdom yesterday to deliver one message: America is open for business. 

The President wants the United States to be the number one tourist destination in the world. It’s good for businesses and it’s good for the economy as a whole. More tourists means more money spent in our cities and towns across the nation. It means more people will be renting cars, dining out, checking into hotels and checking out the sights and sounds of America.  That means more jobs. 

The President will continue to do everything he can to rebuild an economy where hard work pays off, where responsibility is rewarded, and where anyone can make it if they try. He wants to restore the economic security for the middle class and those trying to reach it. Yesterday’s announcement was an important step to put folks back to work, and he’ll keep at it and continue to do everything he can to strengthen the economy.

The President’s announcement will have an impact on communities all over the United States. Let’s take a look at the coverage from local media outlets across the country:

Orlando Sentinel – Obama at Disney: 'America is open for business'

President Barack Obama promised Florida's tourism industry Thursday that he intends to open the door wider to international tourists and was greeted with cheers in a state where increased foreign visitors are seen as one of the best hopes for future jobs.

Even Obama critic U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Winter Park, welcomed the presidential directives, if only with a "what took him so long?" spin.

Arizona Republic – Obama touting tourism for jobs

President Barack Obama said Thursday that he wants to create more jobs by drawing more international tourists to the United States, a plan White House officials said would especially benefit states like Arizona, home to the Grand Canyon and other national parks.

Creating jobs has become a central part of Obama's re-election campaign. On Wednesday, Obama will visit the Valley as part of a five-state tour to build upon themes -- likely jobs and economic development -- that he will emphasize Tuesday in his annual address to Congress.

Las Vegas Review-Journal – Las Vegas Officials Welcome Obama’s Tourism Push

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on Thursday unveiled a new strategy to boost foreign tourism in the U.S., telling an audience at Walt Disney World he wanted America to become the world’s top travel destination.

“America is open for business.  We want to welcome you,” Obama declared in his talk in front of the Cinderella Castle in the heart of the Magic Kingdom outside Orlando, Fla.

McClatchy/Cleveland Plain Dealer – Obama, at Disney World, unveils plan to ease tourist travel to United States

ORLANDO, Fla. -- President Barack Obama's visit to Walt Disney World on Thursday was an appeal as much to Brazilians and their dollars as to Florida voters and their jobs. But it was a brief one, highlighted by a speech that lasted just 13 minutes.

As expected, Obama announced he intends to expand the U.S. State Department's Global Entry Program for trusted international visitors; expand and accelerate visa application processing for such countries as Brazil, India and China; and attempt to add more countries to the Visa Waiver Program that allows foreigners from 36 countries to skip the visa process.

Kansas City Star – Missouri senator praises White House tourism initiatives

WASHINGTON | Sen. Roy Blunt wants to see more foreign tourists in Missouri and believes that a new White House plan that he helped write moves toward that goal.

President Barack Obama on Thursday ordered steps to ease red tape for foreign visitors in an initiative he said would create tourism jobs in the United States.

Tampa Bay Times (Editorial) – Florida tourism gets jolt from Obama

Florida is accustomed to seeing plenty of visitors in January, especially in an election year. But the visit Thursday by President Barack Obama could mark a real boost for the state's economy. The president unveiled a new strategy to attract international tourists, which could bring more cash-flush foreigners to Florida. The plan also dovetails perfectly with the push across the region to expand the global appeal of Tampa Bay.

Raleigh NBC17 – President Obama touts NC's tourism efforts

RALEIGH, N.C. -- President Obama is touting a plan to boost tourism in the United States, pointing to North Carolina as a state where eco-tourism and outdoor activities boost tourism.

Obama said he is looking at ways to expand the global entry program, which helps pre-screen international visitors at security checkpoints. That will make it easier and safer for frequent travelers to get into the U.S.

Salt Lake Tribune – Obama encourages tourism to national parks

Some of Utah’s most famous travel destinations might be a bit more crowded this summer if a new White House effort is successful.

President Barack Obama issued an executive order Thursday, aiming to boost international tourism to the United States in an effort to spur job creation. Part of the initiative seeks to promote visits to national parks, including Utah’s scenic redrock country.

Las Vegas Sun: Nevadans applaud President Obama’s tourism initiative

Tourism industry leaders from across the country applauded President Barack Obama today for signing an executive order and announcing initiatives that should increase travel to the United States.

Against the backdrop of Florida's Disney World, Obama announced his new plan to assist a fledgling renaissance in the country’s tourism sector — one that industry executives believe will also pay dividends in Las Vegas.

Honolulu Star Advertiser - Obama move called tourism boon

State and industry officials say the action will increase visitor numbers. Hawaii's economy could see gains from a national strategy that aims to better promote the United States as a tourism destination and makes it easier for foreign visitors, especially from China and Taiwan, to get visas. An executive order President Barack Obama signed Thursday marks the first time that the U.S. has rolled out a national travel strategy and is the culmination of more than a year of lobbying by politicians and travel leaders nationwide and in Hawaii.  Hawaii's economy could see gains from a national strategy that aims to better promote the United States as a tourism destination and makes it easier for foreign visitors, especially from China and Taiwan, to get visas.

Hawaii News Now – Obama signs off on new tourism measures

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Local officials are applauding an Executive Order signed by President Barack Obama on Thursday, saying it contains several new measures that will help increase travel and tourism to Hawaii.

The Executive Order establishing "Visa and Foreign Visitor Processing Goals and the Task Force on Travel and Competitiveness" stipulates that non-immigrant visa processing capacity in China and Brazil will increase by 40% in 2012 while also ensuring that 80% of non-immigrant visa applicants are interviewed within three weeks of their being received. A new website with information and statistics on visa processes will be designed to assist travelers and the tourism industry.

Sun Sentinel – Obama tourism plan aims to bring more Brazilians to Florida

Expect more high-spending Brazilian tourists in South Florida and more tourism jobs, too, now that President Barack Obama is making a push to lure more foreign travelers to the United States.

Obama's tourism plan, unveiled Thursday in Orlando, adds dozens of embassy workers to process U.S. travel visas in Brazil, where wait times for visa appointments average three months in some cities.

Dayton Beach News Journal (FL) - Locals say president's tourism plan would help

DAYTONA BEACH -- President Barack Obama visited Disney World on Thursday to announce tourism initiatives for the entire country, and local tourism experts say they could dovetail well with the area's tourism efforts already in place.

The president issued an executive order making it easier for international visitors to secure visas -- specifically visitors in China and Brazil -- and announced a national tourism task force to promote travel opportunities.

Florida News Press – Obama invite OK with Southwest Florida

Local industry experts encouraged as president tells worldwide visitors "America is open for business."

Southwest Florida tourism and hospitality leaders warmly greeted President Barack Obama’s new campaign, announced Thursday in Orlando, to make the United States the world’s top travel destination.

They liked his overtures to the Brazilian market, in particular, and his recognition of tourism as an economic engine, in general.

Central Florida News – Orlando travel experts react to Obama's focus on Brazil in new tourism push

ORLANDO – The instant local travel agent, and Brazil native Ricardo Pereira found out about President Barack Obama's "We Can't Wait" tourism plan, he knew the idea was a good one.

“Business is going to be incredible, not only for the Brazilians here, but the whole [state of] Florida,” explained Meridan Tours & Travel Owner Ricardo Pereira.

San Francisco KGO-ABC – Obama's tourism push much appreciated in SF

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- President Obama visited the happiest place on Earth Thursday to talk tourism and his announcement Thursday has implications far beyond the borders of the Magic Kingdom.

The president says his trip to Walt Disney World is the first time his daughters have envied his job.

Desert Sun (CA) – Local tourism on rise amid national push

Coachella Valley tourism leaders hailed a new travel industry report that shows yet another month of double-digit occupancy and revenue growth.

The Smith Travel Research report for December says the Palm Springs area increased its hotel occupancy levels 13.3 percent compared to the same month in 2010, and enjoyed a 19 percent gain in revenue per room.

America Open for Business

Josh Earnest is Principal Deputy Press Secretary.
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