An Economic Jolt

As the U.S. continues its slow recovery from the great economic recession of 2008, the one sector of the economy that has been a reliable source of new jobs has been the travel industry. Growth since 2012 in the number of visitors from overseas has been an especially bright spot: According to the U.S. Travel Association, during the most recent year for which data is available, international visitors to the United States generated more than $19 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue. That’s a remarkable number considering the relative difficulty overseas travelers confront when planning trips to the U.S.

The travel industry generates 14.6 million U.S. jobs (roughly one out of every eight) in the United States. Studies indicate that each visitor from overseas spends nearly $4,500 in the U.S. when they visit. That’s why many in the travel industry, including the U.S. Travel Association, have been trumpeting the benefits of the JOLT (Jobs Originated through Launching Travel) Act, a bipartisan piece of legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that seeks to modernize and expand the Visa Waiver Program, reduce visa wait times and increase the number of countries eligible for visa-free entry.

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