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VIDEO: Ready to say 'aloha' - More Direct Flights from China to Hawaii? By Pamela Young on Jun 7 2011

June 17 2011  Share

Discover America Partnership - an important new effort to expand travel and tourism - Supported by Hong Kong.China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce, Hong Kong.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce and China.Hawaii Chamber of Commerce

Chamber friends:

Out west, we never forget that travel – for tourism or for business – is an enormous part of our economies. So when we are looking for ways to revive our sluggish economies, bringing more travelers to our states and cities is an obvious place to devote some attention.

America’s current visa policies send a loud and clear message to potential visitors from many of the world’s fastest growing countries that they aren’t welcome here. And they’ve gotten the message: while the annual number of long-haul international travelers has risen by 61 million between 2000 and 2010, the number coming to the U.S. has remained flat. On average, each overseas visitor spends more than $4,000 per visit. We’re leaving a lot of money on the table; nowhere more so than the west, destination so for many international travelers.

The U.S. Chamber is a leader of the renewed Discover America Partnership, a coalition of companies and organizations dedicated to spurring more travel to the U.S. through more sensible visa policies. For the first time we are asking chambers of commerce and their members to join us in this effort. Please review the press release below and the attached overview of the Partnership, membership list, and membership form. Then we urge you to sign on as members of the Partnership. Better yet, take the next step and forward this to your members, who have the most to gain from more visitors to your states and cities. There is no cost to join.

Lending your name, along with those of hundreds of other chambers and businesses, will send a strong message to policymakers that they should do more to make it easier for people to visit America and see all that we have to offer. Please join us.

U.S. Chamber President Calls Launch of Travel Coalition - Important Step Toward Visa and Entry Reforms - Discover America Partnership Highlights Barriers to U.S. Maximizing Potential of Global Travel Market

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce put its support behind today’s launch of the Discover America Partnership, a broad coalition to advance visa and entry reforms for international travelers.

“Our nation’s travel policies – and the perception of these policies – have deterred business travelers and tourists from visiting the U.S.,” said Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber. “In addition to the impact on the travel industry, these policies discourage international business travelers from coming to the United States to train, purchase products, and participate in meetings and other business activities.

“The creation of the Discover America Partnership is an important step in highlighting the need for visa and entry reforms,” he said. “This Partnership will educate policymakers and opinion leaders about the economic significance of tourism and business travel, highlight the barriers that prevent the U.S. from maximizing its potential in the global travel market, and present the low or no cost solutions that are necessary for the United States to stay competitive and create jobs.”

According to a report released today by the U.S. Travel Association, long-haul arrivals to the U.S. have increased by less than 2 percent, despite a worldwide increase of 60 million long-haul travelers over the same decade. If the U.S. could restore its share of the global long-haul travel market by 2015 to the 2000 level of 17 percent, and sustain this level through 2020, it would add nearly $390 billion in U.S. exports and create 1.3 million American jobs.

The Discover America Partnership, under the leadership of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and U.S. Travel Association, is a lobbying and grassroots campaign to advance visa and entry reforms that will enable the United States to regain the 17 percent market share of overseas travelers it had in 2000 by 2015. 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact us anytime.

Best always,
Dick Castner
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Western Regional Office
Office: 818.884.0702
Cell: 818.825.3799

Discover America Partnership

Improving America’s visa system to welcome millions of international travelers and create one million jobs

America’s Travel Policies Discouraging Millions of Visitors

International travel remains one of the few bright spots in a struggling global economy. But America’s visa policies have deterred visitors from our shores, cost hundreds of thousands of jobs and deepened our recession. While the number of global long-haul travelers increased by 61 million from 2000 to 2010, the number of overseas visitors to the United States stayed flat.

Overseas visitors to the United States are walking stimulus packages, each spending an average of more than $4,000 per visit. The failure to keep pace with the growth in international long-haul travel cost the U.S. economy $509 billion in total spending and $32 billion in direct tax receipts. In 2008 and 2009 alone, a total of 400,000 U.S. travel industry jobs were lost. Moreover, in addition to the impact on the travel industry, our nation’s travel policies discourage companies from using the United States as a destination for training, meetings and business development – including purchasing products – with international customers and colleagues.

Revived Coalition to Reframe Debate, Advance Needed Reforms

The Discover America Partnership, previously active from 2006-08, is an intensive lobbying and grassroots campaign to advance visa and entry reforms that will enable the United States to regain the 17 percent market share of overseas travelers it had in 2000 by 2015. The campaign will:

• Educate policymakers and opinion leaders on the economic significance of tourism and business travel to the United States;
• Highlight the barriers that prevent the United States from maximizing its potential in the global travel market; and
• Present high-impact solutions with low or no cost that will enable the United States to create hundreds of thousands of sustainable American jobs.

Seeking Diverse Membership

The Coalition seeks a diverse membership of organizations that depend on international travel to the United States for their success. In addition to members of the travel industry, the coalition seeks support from entities that rely on international business travelers to attend trade shows, explore mutual business development opportunities and participate in product demonstrations and other business activities.

• Leadership
• Steering Committee: Involves a $10,000 commitment and includes setting and implementing strategy, featured participation at coalition events, logo on letterhead and web site, logo in paid media placements, regular updates and participation at press events. Committee: Chaired by the U.S. Travel Association, the committee also includes the American Hotel and Lodging Association, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
• Campaign Partner: This membership level involves a $2,500 commitment and includes name on letters and logo on web site, regular updates and participation in press and coalition events.
• Member: This membership level includes regular updates and membership listing on the web site.

Tightly Focused Structure, Tactics

The Partnership seeks to maximize resources by leveraging existing assets. Rather than seeking substantial amounts for additional funding, Partnership members agree to lend their time and the resources of their lobbying and/or grassroots firms. The Partnership will mount an aggressive advocacy campaign with Congress and the Administration that will include meetings, briefings and hearings. To support Hill efforts, the Partnership will employ limited inside-the-beltway paid media where necessary.

Three level of membership ($10,000 - $ 2,500 - $0)

Membership Agreement Form - click here to download membership application in Microsoft Word format

Please complete and return to Robert Bobo at 

Steering Committee Member. $10,000.

Campaign Partner. $2,500. 

General Member. $0 (non-trade associations only)

Please note that as a member of the Discover America Partnership, your organization will be placed on the Partnership’s membership list and identified with the coalition’s public advertisements and statements.

Current Discover America Membership List

Leadership Committee
U.S. Travel Association, Chair
American Hotel & Lodging Association
National Restaurant Association
National Retail Federation
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Steering Committee
Carlson Hotels
Choice Hotels International, Inc.
Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau
Hilton Worldwide
InterContinental Hotels Group
International Franchise Association
Loews Hotels
Marriott International
Starwood Hotels
Universal Orlando

Campaign Partners
Association for Manufacturing Technology
Consumer Electronics Association
Cruise Lines International Association
Destination Marketing Association International
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
International Association of Exhibitions and Events
National Tour Association
Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute
Receptive Services Association of America
San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau
Service Employees International Union
Society of Independent Show Organizers
Society of Professional Engineers
U.S. Conference of Mayors

American Express Co.
Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau
Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce
Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association
Pennsylvania Tourism Office

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