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Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Lingle Commends US Chamber for Tourism-Focused Senate Testimony
By News Release @ 1:24 PM :: 8260 Views :: Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics


News Release from

HONOLULU - Former Governor Linda Lingle, candidate for Hawaii's open U.S. Senate seat, commended U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donahue today, for testifying before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security in support of creating efficient policies to increase travel to the U.S. that would bolster the economy and create jobs.

"With tourism and related businesses making up nearly 10% of our nation's GDP and employing more than 14 million Americans, we need a strong, coordinated policy at the federal level to address tourism issues, including streamlining the visa process and expanding the Visa Waiver Program," said Gov. Linda Lingle. "The ideas presented today by the U.S. Chamber president Tom Donahue, represent a common-sense approach to tourism policy that will allow us to welcome more of our visitors from abroad, and will create more jobs for the people of Hawaii and throughout our nation."

If elected to represent the people of Hawaii in the U.S. Senate, Gov. Lingle will work with her colleagues on both sides of the aisle to garner bipartisan support for tourism-boosting policies that will help to spur further economic recovery.

Gov. Lingle has pledged throughout her campaign that if elected she will propose to create a subcommittee on tourism in the U.S. Senate to help create more jobs in Hawaii and nationwide. As former Governor of Hawaii and Mayor of the County of Maui, Linda Lingle has extensive experience fostering the development and refinement of the hospitality industry in a manner that respects Hawaii's host culture while providing visitors a memorable experience that encourages repeat visits. As Senator, she would like to capitalize on this experience to serve as the nation's point person on tourism in the U.S. Senate by promoting pro-tourism policies, while not sacrificing national security.

The U.S. Chamber recently recognized Gov. Lingle's work to promote tourism initiatives to boost Hawaii's and our nation's economy by endorsing her campaign for the U.S. Senate.

A copy of the U.S. Chamber's release about Pres. Donahue's testimony is below.

To read more about Gov. Lingle's plans for the visitor industry and how the right policies could create jobs, visit:


U.S. Chamber President Emphasizes Job Creating Potential of Travel and Tourism in Testimony Before Senate Panel

Donohue Calls for Visa Reforms to Ease Business Travel and Tourism

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue today urged lawmakers to better promote the United States as a premier travel destination and to put the welcome mat back out for international visitors in order to grow the U.S. economy and create jobs.

Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security, Donohue highlighted the importance of efficient travel policies to conducting international business and called for key visa reforms to make inbound travel easier for visitors without compromising national security.

"The travel and tourism industry currently employs 7.4 million Americans and generates more than $700 billion in revenue," said Donohue. "And when foreign visitors spend their money here, it's counted as an export. But we are leaving travel-related jobs and revenues on the table because we're not laying out the welcome mat for business visitors and tourists. Consider what's at stake: If we could restore the U.S. share of the global overseas travel market to its 2000 level, we would create 1.3 million new jobs and generate $860 billion in economic activity-without costing taxpayers a dime."

"With a struggling economy, we cannot forgo lost business, revenue, and exports because of bureaucratic delays and understaffed agencies. We need to ensure that when tourists are ready to travel and business people are ready to make deals, they come to the greatest travel destination of them all-the United States of America," Donohue stated.

Donohue also spotlighted the business community's support of the "Jobs Originated through Launching Travel Act" (JOLT), legislation that would improve the visa process and expand international travel by:

*Expanding the Visa Waiver Program

*Giving travelers the option to expedite visa applications for a fee *Offering lower application fees during off-peak seasons

*Ensuring timely and predictable reviews by requiring the State Department to process applications within a 2 week time frame.

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.

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