"Over the past decade, the U.S. economy has missed an unprecedented global travel boom because of visa delays and other bureaucratic policies that discourage visitors to our shores," say Roger J. Dow, the head of the U.S. Travel Association, in The Wall Street Journal. Our struggling economy is missing out on hundreds of thousands of jobs, Dow says, and hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue. Here, a brief guide, by the numbers, to America's "lost decade of tourism":
America's share, in percent, of the long-haul travel market in 2000, according to Dow
America's share, in percent, of the long-haul travel market in 2010
Number of jobs lost because of this decline in tourism
Amount of tourism revenue that America lost due to this decline
Lost tax revenue. "During a time of high unemployment and rising deficits, the U.S. cannot afford to continue down this path," says Dow.
Average amount that hotels, restaurants, shops, and other businesses accrue for every international traveler who comes to the U.S.
More than 100
Number of days that an applicant from an "emerging market" country like Brazil may have to wait to get an interview for a visa to visit the U.S.
Number of miles a family of four in Manus, Brazil, would need to travel to get to Brasilia for an interview at a U.S. consulate before they could visit the U.S.
Number of days that same family could visit Europe for without needing a visa. "No wonder six million travelers from China, India, and Brazil visited Western Europe last year while only 2.6 million came to the U.S.," says Dow. "This self-inflicted wound is especially painful since travelers from China, India, and Brazil rank first, second and fourth respectively in total spending once they get to the U.S."
Number of countries that are part of the Visa Waiver Program. They include Spain, Japan, and Australia. Nationals from these 36 countries may visit the U.S. for a stay of up to 90 days without obtaining a visa. To recapture the 17 percent market share of international travel, the Visa Waiver Program must be expanded to include new countries, Dow says.
Percent of total travelers in the U.S. who are international visitors
Percent of total travel-related spending that international visitors account for
Number of American jobs supported by international visitors' spending in 2010