WASHINGTON, DC— In this week’s address, President Obama told the American people about steps his Administration is taking to make it easier for travelers to visit the United States, because increasing tourism will help local economies and support businesses looking to expand and hire. This plan to boost tourism is part of a series of actions the President has taken without Congress, because we can’t wait any longer to take the steps we need to help grow the economy and create jobs. President Obama also said that in next week’s State of the Union Address, he will outline his blueprint for how our elected leaders and all Americans can work together to create an economy that is built to last.
Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
The White House
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Hello, everybody. On Thursday, I went down to Florida to visit Disneyworld. To Sasha and Malia’s great disappointment, I was not there to hang out with Mickey or ride Space Mountain. Instead, I was there to talk about steps we’re taking to boost tourism and create jobs.
Tourism is the number one service we export. Every year, tens of millions of tourists come from all over the world to visit America. They stay in our hotels, eat at our restaurants, and see all the sights America has to offer.
That’s good for local businesses. That’s good for local economies. And the more folks who visit America, the more Americans we get back to work. It’s that simple.
We can’t wait to seize this opportunity. As I’ve said before, I will continue to work with Congress, states, and leaders in the private sector to find ways to move this country forward. But where they can’t act or won’t act, I will. Because we want the world to know that America is open for business. And that’s why I announced steps we’re taking to promote America and make it easier for tourists to come and visit.
Frequent travelers who pass an extensive background check will be able to scan their passports and fingerprints and skip long lines at immigration at more airports. We’re going to expand the number of countries where visitors can get pre-cleared by Homeland Security so they don’t need a tourist visa. And we’re going to speed up visa processing for countries with growing middle classes that can afford to visit America – countries like China and Brazil.
We want more visitors coming here. We want them spending money here. It’s good for our economy, and it will help provide the boost more businesses need to grow and hire. And we can’t wait to make it happen.
Too often over the last few months, we’ve seen Congress drag its feet and refuse to take steps we know will help strengthen our economy. That’s why this is the latest in a series of actions I’ve taken on my own to help our economy keep growing, creating jobs, and restoring security for middle-class families.
In September, we decided to stop waiting for Congress to fix No Child Left Behind and give states the flexibility they need to help our kids meet higher standards. We made sure that small businesses that have contracts with the Federal Government can get paid faster so they can start hiring more people. We made it easier for veterans to get jobs and put their skills to work. We took steps to help families whose home values have fallen refinance their mortgages and save up to thousands of dollars a year. We sped up the loan process for companies that want to rebuild our roads and bridges – putting construction workers back on the job. And I appointed Richard Cordray to be America’s consumer watchdog and protect working Americans from the worst abuses of the financial industry.
These are good steps. Now we need to do more.
On Tuesday evening, I’ll deliver my State of the Union Address, where I’ll lay out my blueprint for actions we need to take together – not just me, or Congress, but every American – to rebuild an economy where hard work and responsibility are rewarded. An economy that’s built to last.
I hope you’ll tune in. In the meantime, I’m going to keep doing everything I can to make this country not only the best place to visit and do business – but the best place to live and work and build a better life.
Thanks for watching. Have a great weekend. And I’ll see you on Tuesday.