WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama signed Thursday a memorandum regarding the establishment of a national goal and developing airport-specific action plans to enhance the entry process for international travelers to the US.
In the memorandum, Obama stressed that the US travel and tourism sector “is critical to the Nation’s prosperity and drives economic growth.” He said that the National Travel and Tourism Strategy, published two years ago, “set a target of attracting and welcoming 100 million visitors by 2021, which the United States is on track to meet.
“To ensure we properly welcome and process those visitors at our airports, I am directing the Secretaries of Commerce and Homeland Security (Secretaries) to develop a national goal for improving service levels for international arrivals, including the time passengers spend waiting for primary inspection, i.e. passport control, and other steps of the arrival process,” he affirmed.
“The Secretaries shall also develop airport-specific action plans that include actions from both private and public sectors to measurably improve the entry experience and reduce the wait time for international arrivals to those airports,” he added.
The purpose of this goal and action plans is to maximize the economic contribution of travel and tourism for business, leisure, academic, medical, and other lawful purposes by improving the experience of international travelers coming to the United States, in particular their experience with passport control and customs processing at airports in the United States.
The memorandum indicated that in 2013, international visitors alone supported more than 1.3 million US jobs.