July 20, 2017
By Sarah J.F. Braley
The U.S. Travel Association and 19 other travel, meetings and business groups have signed on to a letter asking the Trump Administration to reconsider the June 21 "Presidential Executive Order Amending Executive Order 13597"; the original order mandated that 80 percent of nonimmigrant be interviewed within three weeks of submitting an application. The amendment rescinds that policy by "deleting subsection (b)(ii) of section 2 of that order."
In the letter, the 20 trade associations warned that the move would likely lengthen how long international visitors to the United States will have to wait for visas, which could have economic ramifications. The letter was sent to President Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.
"It is important to maintain these improvements because visa-processing delays have a direct economic impact on the United States and American jobs," the letter reads. "In 2016, the U.S. travel industry generated $2.3 billion in economic output, supporting 15.3 million jobs and $248.2 billion in wages. Approximately 2.7 percent of the nation's gross domestic product is attributed to travel and tourism, with 1 out of 9 jobs depending on the travel and tourism industry.
"We strongly support thorough efforts to ensure international visitors are not entering the U.S. with the intent to overstay their visas, or to commit acts of terrorism or other crimes. We also support a world-class and efficient visa process that effectively and securely manages the millions of visa applications submitted each year. After years of needless visa backlogs, the State Department has made great progress, reducing inefficiencies to decrease wait times to manageable levels."
The list of organizations that signed the letter are below.
U.S. Travel Association
American Bus Association
American Gaming Association
American Hotel & Lodging Association
American Society of Association Executives
American Society of Travel Agents
Business Travel Coalition
Events Industry Council
International Association of Exhibitions and Events
International Franchise Association
International Inbound Travel Association
Meetings Professionals International
National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators & Developers
National Retail Federation
National Tour Association
Professional Convention Management Association
Society of Independent Show Organizers
Student & Youth Travel Association
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
United States Tour Operators Association