The U.S. Department of Commerce has reported that international travelers spent more than $14.4 billion on travel and tourism in the U.S. in just one month, March, 2013, which the Department reports is an increase of 3% over the prior year, and is part of the $43 billion spent during the first quarter of 2013. According to Department officials, international travel and tourism represents is the U.S.’s largest service export.
Travel and tourism supports almost 8 million U.S. jobs and recent increases in tourism account for strong job growth in the leisure and hospitality sector. The Administration has a strategy in place to increase travel and tourism to attract more than 100 million international tourists who may spent up to $250 billion per year and expand economic growth throughout the country. The Administration’s goal is to maintain and improve national security through better law enforcement cooperation in the Visa Waiver program, together with enhancements to visa and visitor processing, and processing at U.S. ports of entry while making the U.S. a destination of choice worldwide. The sheer size and significance of the travel and tourism sector of the U.S. economy and long term U.S. concerns regarding terrorism and national security underscore the difficulty in balancing these interests. But balancing them is what the Administration must do.
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