23 March 2012 -- The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) today announced support for the Jobs Originated through Launching Travel Act or JOLT Act.
The bipartisan JOLT Act was introduced by Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) and co-sponsored by Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Mark Kirk (D-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mike Lee (R-UT), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Marco Rubio (R-FL). The legislation will make it easier for international visitors to come to the United States by reforming the visa process, lengthening visa validity, expediting entry for priority visitors, and expanding the visa waiver program.
“International travelers want to visit America and we should welcome them with open arms,” said AH&LA President/CEO Joe McInerney. “The Jolt Act puts a priority on easing many of the antiquated rules slowing down the process in obtaining travel visas. Passing this legislation will significantly boost the U.S. economy and benefit every community across the country.”
America's burdensome visa process drives millions of international visitors to other countries at an enormous cost to our economy. Even as world travel grew by more than 60 million travelers between 2000 and 2010, the U.S. share remained essentially flat. As a result, our economy lost $606 billion in total spending from 78 million additional visitors – enough to support 467,000 more jobs annually.
By regaining America’s pre-9/11 share of international travel, the United States could create up to 1.3 million new U.S. jobs and produce $859 billion in cumulative additional economic output. As AH&LA has relayed to Congress, increasing travel to the United States is the most effective form of economic stimulus – creating millions of new American jobs, adding billions to the U.S. economy, and benefitting every community around the country.
MAY 18, 2012
WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Travel Association today commended the newly-introduced House and Senate versions of the Jobs Originated through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act of 2012. The legislation will create jobs and improve national security through provisions that make long-term reforms to the visa system, improve the entry process and expand the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
“The JOLT Act reforms significant difficulties in our current visa and entry process while at the same time increasing safeguards and making it more attractive for millions of people around the world to visit the United States,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “The U.S. travel industry appreciates the bipartisan work of Congress and agencies involved in coming up with critical legislation that will remove barriers, improve security and provide a great economic boost to our economy.”
The new JOLT Act (H.R. 5741, S.3199) includes the following provisions:
Amends the VWP to allow additional countries to be considered for admission once they meet stringent security and law enforcement co-operation requirements;
permits Canadian visitors to stay in the United States for an additional 60 days per year;
develops a pilot program for premium visa processing;
increases transparency by making historical data on visa processing wait times available to the public;
allows Customs and Border Protection to add foreign nationals to Global Entry after it has signed a bilateral agreement with their government; and
sets a goal to conduct 80 percent of all nonimmigrant visa interviews within 15 business days of requesting an appointment.
Consensus on the Hill continues to build around these issues. The VWP provision mirrors language included in the Senate’s fiscal year 2013 homeland security funding bill currently before the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Mike Lee (R-UT), and Representatives Joe Heck (NV-3) and Mike Quigley (IL-5) introduced the legislation, which is supported by the Departments of State and Homeland Security.
“The members of Congress co-sponsoring this bill understand the powerful economic role that travel plays in their states and districts,” said Dow. “We appreciate their support of this important issue, and we look forward to working with them on full passage of the JOLT Act.”