The following is a brief message from the US 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. We urge you to sign on as members of the Partnership.

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.

Dick Castner
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Western Regional Office