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U.S. Tourism’s ‘Lost Decade’ Cost Some 500,000 Jobs

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Paul Bedard
Washington Whispers
Thursday, November 10, 2011

Comment: This isn’t just about visas, having traveled to both the United States and Communist China, the U.S. makes China look like a stroll on the beach. Entering the U.S. is like entering the former East Germany with a high-tech overlay. Thumb prints, iris scans, interrogations by Homeland Security thugs, body scans, grope downs – all that has undoubtedly put millions of people off visiting America in the decade since 9/11.

The travel industry today became the latest to slam federal rules and bureaucracy, charging that tough visa rules for potential tourists have robbed the nation of $600 billion and hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Two grim facts: More Chinese now visit France than the United States, in part because it’s hard to get a U.S. visitors visa. And while the U.S. used to be the destination for 17 percent of the world’s tourists in 2000, that’s dropped to 12.4 percent and shows no sign of changing.

“Even as world travel grew by more than 60 million travelers between 2000 and 2010, the U.S. share of the market remained essentially flat. During this ‘lost decade,’ our economy squandered an opportunity to gain $606 billion in total spending from 78 million additional visitors—enough to support 467,000 more jobs annually,” said a new report out this afternoon from the U.S. Travel Association.

“We know that we are not getting our share,” said USTA spokesman Robert Bobo.

Full story here.

This article was posted: Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 4:02 pm

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