In a bipartisan effort to spur tourism to the U.S., create jobs, reform outdated visa laws and increase national security, Reps. Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Tom Rice (R-SC) yesterday introduced the Jobs Originating through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act of 2018.
"By improving the visa process, strengthening national security, and welcoming vetted travelers, the U.S. will be able to realize economic benefits at hotels, restaurants, retail store, and attractions around the country," said VisitU.S. Coalition spokesman Amos Snead. (VisitU.S. News Release, July 26)
- Rep. Quigley said, "By updating outdated visa laws, we can drive tourism and job growth in our cities and assist the U.S. intelligence community with their mission to spot and stop terrorist threats. The JOLT Act accomplishes both of those objectives by stimulating economic activity and improving national security."
- Rep. Rice added, "The JOLT Act will enhance our economic competitiveness and strengthen national security by modernizing the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which facilitates streamlined travel into the United States for pre-approved travelers from member countries."
- In 2016, 22 million people traveled to the U.S. from VWP countries, accounting for 59% of overseas arrivals to the U.S. Travelers from these countries generated more than $90 billion for the U.S. economy. (Rep. Quigley News Release, July 26)
- The VisitU.S. Coalition applauded introduction of the Act. Coalition spokesman Amos Snead commented, "By improving the visa process, strengthening national security, and welcoming vetted travelers, the U.S. will be able to realize economic benefits at hotels, restaurants, retail store, and attractions around the country," said VisitU.S. Coalition spokesman Amos Snead. (VisitU.S. News Release, July 26)
- Led by the U.S. Travel Association and the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the VisitU.S. coalition also includes The Real Estate Roundtable, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Resort Development Association.
- The coalition is also urging Congress to reauthorize the Brand USA program, which is funded through fees on foreign visitors who do not require a visa when entering the U.S. Legislation is needed to authorize the program beyond 2020 – and ensure that visitor fees authorized for collection from 2021 to 2027 will not be diverted to the Treasury Department, as currently scheduled. (Roundtable Weekly, June 29)
A panel discussion at The Roundtable's June 14 Annual Meeting focused on travel and tourism, economic growth and CRE. Participants included Roger Dow, President and CEO, U.S. Travel Association; Katherine Lugar, President and CEO, American Hotel & Lodging Association; Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Anthony E. Malkin (Chairman and CEO, Empire State Realty Trust). (Roundtable Weekly, June 15, 2018.)