People come from around the world to visit America’s great landmarks and attractions, generating billions of dollars of economic activity across the country. But the country’s current visa system creates long wait times and costly hurdles, both for eager foreign tourists and temporary immigrant workers in the tourism industry. The average tourist from China spends $6,243 during his or her trip, and the average tourists from India and Brazil spend $6,131 and $4,940, respectively. But long waits for visas – more than 100 days for an interview in Brazil – have resulted in tourists traveling elsewhere. Between 2000 and 2010, these delays cost the United States $606 billion in travel and tourism output, 467,000 American jobs, and as many as 78 million visitors.
Meanwhile, businesses that serve these tourists face their own bureaucratic barriers to hiring the temporary labor they need. Obtaining an H-2B visa for a temporary worker requires navigating three separate federal agencies, takes about 8 weeks to process, and costs roughly $2,500 per applicant. Visa reform is critical to ensure America’s tourism industry continues to have a steady flow of customers from around the world, as well as the staff it needs to meet demand.
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