Who We Are
In the decade after 2000, the United States market share of the worldwide travel industry declined from 17 to 12.9 percent. Tens of millions of new international travelers chose to go somewhere other than the U.S. Our failure even to keep pace with the growth has taken an enormous and unnecessary toll on our own economy.
The Discover America Partnership is a lobbying and grassroots campaign to advance visa and entry reforms to enable the U.S. to regain our historical share of the booming world travel market.
DAP members reflect a broad range of industries and missions which share the need for efficient overseas travel to the U.S.–whether it’s to negotiate business deals, host global conferences and trade shows, or welcome international tourists. In 2012, international travel to the U.S. accounted for $129 billion in direct spending, supporting 1.1 million jobs. There is enormous potential for growth but only if we take practical steps to more efficiently and securely welcome millions of new visitors.
It’s pretty simple. For years, many overseas visa applicants had to wait 100 days or travel 1,000 miles for the required personal interview, then endure delays of up to several hours at border entry checkpoints after long-haul flights. We can fix these problems. There’s already been real progress–and we’re working hard to sustain that momentum.
The DAP agenda includes reducing visa interview wait times and testing visa videoconference technology; streamlining the Customs and Border Protection entry process; expanding the Visa Waiver Program and trusted traveler programs; and reauthorizing the Travel Promotion Act. A central focus of the current agenda is enactment of the Jobs Originated through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act of 2013. Already contained in the Senate-passed immigration reform package, the House JOLT Act (H.R. 1354) currently has 150 bipartisan co-sponsors.
The potential benefits are hard to exaggerate. Month after month, economic projections from the Commerce and Labor Departments underscore how international visitation to the United States is helping lead the nation’s economic recovery. Travel exports, already the top U.S. services export, are rising at a faster rate than any other sector of the economy–generating tens of thousands of American jobs that can’t be outsourced overseas.