NATION

White House pushes domestic tourism

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It’s almost summer and soon enough, students will be out of school and we’ll all have vacation on our minds.

It’s in that same vain that the Obama administration on Thursday released a list of new incentives to draw more tourists to the United States, pushing the idea that “America is open for business.”

Tourism within the U.S. is a major driver of the oft-embattled American economy, helping bolster employment as well as domestic spending. International spending on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services set an all-time record of $153 billion in 2011--an 8.1 percent increase from 2010, and supported an additional 103,000 jobs for a total of 7.6 million industry jobs, the White House said in a statement.

“This positive trend is continuing in 2012 with more than 4.2 million international visitors traveling to the United States in February 2012, a nine percent increase over February 2011, and the 11th straight month of increases in total U.S. visits,” the White House said.

The White House is partnering with local communities in places like San Francisco, Miami, Orlando, Las Vegas, Denver, Seattle, and the Chesapeake region on the initiative.

The U.S.’ projected goal is to attract 100 million international visitors, who we estimate will spend $250 billion, annually by the end of 2021, the White House said.

Unlike most other nations, the U.S. does not have a Ministry of Tourism. In an effort to streamline the administration’s tourism promotion, the Task Force on Travel and Competitiveness will push for greater action, urging “international tourists [to] choose the United States” as a tourist destination, the White House said.

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