Kerrigan in Travel Pulse: Fixing the U.S. Visa System is an Urgent Priority

By at 14 February, 2023, 6:12 pm

In a February 10, Travel Pulse opinion piece, SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan expresses frustration regarding foot-dragging at the U.S. State Department, which is taking a big bite out of U.S. tourism revenue. The delays and backlogs in issuing visas for overseas tourists are unacceptable and hurting the ability of the tourism industry from fully recovering. Kerrigan writes:

“According to the U.S Travel Association, delays by the State Department in issuing visas could prevent 6.6 million people from traveling to the U.S. this year alone, resulting in spending losses of $11.6 billion. The same research found that most international travelers cite the cumbersome visa process as the biggest deterrent to visiting our shores. What should be a tool to attract overseas visitors to spend time and money in our country has now become a huge barrier to U.S. travel.”

At the same time, however, the U.S. Department of Commerce has geared up a campaign and strategy for boosting U.S. tourism from abroad. Kerrigan notes that with the pandemic behind us, it would sure be nice to have our federal government work to return to “normalcy” in order to support the many businesses that depend on tourism foot traffic from abroad. She adds:

“Getting back to business by issuing visas on a timely basis would surely demonstrate that our government can work, and it would be a big boost to our economy and those businesses who suffered long enough through the pandemic.”

Read the full piece here.


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