FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 15, 2014

OKC CONVENTION & TOURISM PRESIDENT COMMENTS ON EXPANSION OF VISA WAIVER PROGRAM
NEW STUDY SHOWS SMARTER TOURIST VISA LAWS WOULD ADD MORE THAN $7.5 BILLION IN REVENUE AND 50,000 JOBS WITHIN FIVE YEARS

New tourism ad to air in airports, taxicabs, movie theaters, on Facebook and Twitter

Oklahoma City, OK — The Partnership for a New American Economy today released a new study showing how expanding the Visa Waiver Program to six new countries – Brazil, Hong Kong, Israel, Poland, South Africa, and Turkey – would result in $7.66 billion additional spending and 50,000 American jobs within five years.

The Partnership also released a new ad in its series highlighting the need for immigration reform across broad sectors of the economy. This ad showcases the role of international tourists as significant revenue generators and American job creators.

“Responsible expansion of the Visa Waiver Program is good for the tourism industry in Oklahoma. As an example, just in the last month we have welcomed citizens from Argentina, Brazil, Israel, and Poland to Oklahoma City who are members of an international association headquartered right here, but they have to acquire a Visa to be able to come to their headquarters or any other location in the USA for US based events of that association”, said Mike Carrier, President of the Oklahoma City Convention & Tourism Bureau.

“No one wants to open our borders in an irresponsible manner. We need to make the flow of legal travel between nations a positive experience instead of the challenge that is so often presented to our international friends,” Carrier continued.

Key findings from the report include:

•             The Visa Waiver Program has a meaningful impact driving increases in U.S. tourist volumes. Our analysis found that when a typical country joins the Visa Waiver Program, it sees a notable increase in the number of tourists who chose to visit the U.S. in the immediate years that follow. Over the course of its first five years in the program, the number of tourists arriving from a participating country rises by 16.4 percent.

•             If a handful of trusted countries currently being evaluated for membership in the Visa Waiver Program were to gain entry in 2015, the impact on U.S. tourism volumes would be sizeable. If just six countries—Brazil, Hong Kong, Turkey, Israel, South Africa, and Poland—were to gain entry into the Visa Waiver Program in 2015, more than 600,000 additional travelers from those countries would visit America in the year that followed. Between 2015 and 2019, an estimated 1.7 million more residents of these areas would arrive in the U.S. as tourists than would have otherwise.

•             Expanding the Visa Waiver Program would support our economy and create valuable jobs. Expanding the Visa Waiver Program to the six countries outlined above would result in $7.66 billion in additional tourist spending within a five-year period. It would also create at least 50,000 American tourism jobs within five years.

Read the full report, “Passport to Future Economic Growth: How Expanding the Visa Waiver Program Will Strengthen the U.S. Economy and Create American Tourism Jobs,” here.

 

About the Partnership for a New American Economy

The Partnership for a New American Economy brings together more than 500 Republican, Democratic and Independent mayors and business leaders who support immigration reforms that will help create jobs for Americans today. The Partnership’s members include mayors of more than 35 million people nationwide and business leaders of companies that generate more than $1.5 trillion and employ more than 4 million people across all sectors of the economy, from Agriculture to Aerospace, Hospitality to High Tech and Media to Manufacturing. Partnership members understand that immigration is essential to maintaining the productive, diverse and flexible workforce that America needs to ensure prosperity over the coming generations. Learn more at www.RenewOurEconomy.org.