Congresswoman Titus Seeks New Opportunities to Promote Tourism and Spur Economic Growth in Southern Nevada

Feb 14, 2013
Press Release

February 14, 2013

Washington, D.C. - Congresswoman Dina Titus of Nevada’s First District sent a letter to President Obama today urging him to improve visa processes for foreign travelers to the United States and increase efforts to promote the United States as a tourist destination in order to create jobs and spur economic growth. 

“I commend the President's commitment to increasing U.S. travel and tourism, and applaud the Executive Order (EO13597) that instructs executive agencies to address needed reforms in the visa and foreign visitor processes,” Congresswoman Titus said. “But we must do more to promote the U.S. as the leading international travel destination and streamline the process for those who wish to visit our country.”
 
Executive Order 13597, Establishing Visa and Foreign Visitor Processing Goals and the Task Force on Travel and Competitiveness, was issued January 19, 2012. The Executive Order seeks to increase executive agencies' operational productivity and streamline visa application processes without compromising national security.  The purpose of this executive order is to ease the process for foreigners wishing to travel to the United States.
 
In January 2013, a year after Executive Order 13597 was issued, President Obama included a commitment to enhance travel and tourism within his framework for comprehensive immigration reform. Congresswoman Titus agrees that ongoing work on immigration reform offers the opportunity to enhance the effectiveness of EO 13597, as well as explore other legislative avenues to improve foreign visitor processing while continuing to maintain national security.
 
“In Southern Nevada, tourism is the cornerstone of our economy; ensuring safe, efficient travel is essential to the economic well-being of the First District, the state of Nevada, and the country,” Titus said.
 
In an effort to promote reform to foreign visa processes, Congresswoman Titus wrote the following letter to President Obama: 
 

Dear President Obama,
 
It was a pleasure to welcome you to my Congressional District in January and I appreciate that you selected Las Vegas as the site to begin the conversation on the best way to bring much needed overhaul of our nation’s immigration system. I agree that we must approach this challenge through broad reform that secures our borders, reinforces our laws, and provides a fair path to citizenship for the millions of immigrants already living in our country. I was especially pleased to hear you mention the “Dreamers” during your speech as I have long been a supporter of the DREAM Act. I look forward to again working with my colleagues on this important issue. 
 
As we continue the process of reforming our nation’s immigration laws, I believe we have a unique opportunity to make important reforms to our visa system. We should use this opportunity to improve the visa system in a number of ways, including improving our visa processes for foreign travelers who want to visit the United States.  I was pleased to see that the overarching framework for immigration reform released by the White House included a commitment to enhance travel and tourism. I agree that it is crucial to our national economy to increase the number of foreign visitors to the U.S. while maintaining our national security. My Congressional District contains the world famous Las Vegas strip, which like many popular travel destinations, is a major contributor to our regional economy. 
 
In 2011, the United States trailed France by almost 20 million foreign visitors, despite our country’s vast advantage both in size and number of tourist destinations. We must do more not only to promote the U.S. as a tourist destination but also ease the process for those who wish to visit our country. I applaud the Executive Order (EO13597) that you issued in January of 2012, instructing executive agencies “to improve visa and foreign visitor processing and travel promotion in order to create jobs and spur economic growth in the United States.” I believe many of the aspects of this order will be effective in promoting the U.S. as a travel destination and increasing travel to the U.S. As we work on comprehensive immigration reform, we should explore opportunities to make any legislative changes necessary to either fully implement this Executive Order or increase its effectiveness. Additionally, we should explore other legislative changes regarding our visa system to improve the process for foreign travelers wanting to visit the United States. 
 
I look forward to working with you and my colleagues on this important issue and hope to welcome you to my Congressional District again in the near future.
 
Sincerely,
 
Dina Titus
Member of Congress