President Barack Obama announced yesterday in Orlando, Florida, a new strategy to boost tourism, including special provisions to make it easier for Brazilian and Chinese citizens to acquire tourist visas at U.S. consulates overseas. In the 2011 fiscal year alone, more than 800,000 Brazilians received tourist visas.
Given the increasing importance of tourists from Brazil and China to the overall U.S. tourism sector, the new measures are estimated help create 1.3 million jobs over the next decade.
Despite record demand for U.S. tourist visas, applicants worldwide complain about the application costs (which can reach $500 per person), long processing times and the difficulty in traveling to the nearest U.S. consulate. Under the new plan, applications will be processed in less than three weeks and travelers who currently hold expired visas would not be required to redo the entire application process to renew their travel documents.