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Statement from U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker on President Obama’s Executive Actions to Welcome More International Visitors

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 22, 2014
News Media Contact:
Office of Public Affairs, 202-482-4883

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker issued a statement today on the announcement that President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum to help welcome more international visitors to the United States, which spurs the economy. With this memorandum, Secretary Pritzker and  Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson will lead an interagency team over the next four months to improve the entry process and reduce wait times for international travelers to the United States. 

“In the hospitality business, first impressions matter a great deal,” said Secretary Pritzker. “That is why we must ensure that tourists and business travelers have a positive and welcoming experience when they land at our ports of entry. After all, international travelers spend an average of $4,500 per visit here, and support 1.3 million jobs. We are joining forces today with the private sector to ensure that we send a genuine ‘Welcome to America’ message at every stage of the arrivals process. That message will attract more international visitors—and generate more jobs and prosperity here at home.
 
Of course, safety and security is our first priority, and Secretary Johnson and I share the President’s vision that we can reduce wait times and improve customer service while strengthening security at the border. The more we facilitate the flow of lawful goods and people across the border, the more time and resources we can devote to identifying threats, which is both good for security and for our economy.”
 
In addition to the memorandum, the Department of Commerce and other agencies will take additional steps to encourage travelers to visit the United States, including launching coordinated strategies withBrandUSA in ten international markets, creating a “one-stop” that supports international bids for major global events, and expanding the use of technology to streamline the entry process.
 
The Obama Administration also released a new report today that highlights the many economic benefits of increased travel and tourism, and the progress that has been achieved in implementing the President’s strategy. President Obama also announced that the United States is on track to meet the National Travel and Tourism Strategy goal of welcoming 100 million international visitors annually by the end of 2021.