Lincoln Memorial: Lots of visitors, room for many more. Photo: ILA-boy / Wikimedia
The U.S. is on the way to hitting 100 million international visitors by 2021, according to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. Last year's record total was about 74 million, and they spent about $222 billion in the U.S.
Pritzker, who knows something about travelers (her family founded and owns the Hyatt hotel empire), outlined a plan to boost travel even further by making it easier to visit. The steps include:
- Expanding the visa waiver program to more countries (now 38) whose citizens don't need visas
- Increasing the number of overseas cities where immigration and customs are done before boarding the plane
- Decreasing waiting times for visas where they will still be required
- Upgrading airports to move passengers off and through processing quickly. The 17 airports chosen account for 75% of arrivals in the U.S. That means more automated kiosks, among other things.
- Re-invigorating the "Brand USA" partnership of public and private tourist promotion
And, like everyone else in the world of tourism promotion, she's counting on heavily promoting visiting the U.S. the the fastest growing market: China.
Click HERE to read the full interview in USA Today.