U.S. Cities Feel Hurt Of Tourism Slump

<p>The amount of overseas tourists visiting the U.S. has dropped recently, and with revenues in many cities taking a hit, a coalition of American mayors are calling on the federal government to loosen restrictions on foreign travelers.</p>
August 23, 2007, 8am PDT | Nate Berg
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"Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann has joined other mayors in asking top government leaders for more marketing dollars and reforms that will make it more appealing and more convenient for overseas tourists to visit the United States."

"Overseas travel to the United States has fallen 17 percent since its peak in 2000, with a cumulative cost of more than $100 billion in lost visitor spending, Hannemann said."

"While declines have been felt across the board, the nation's top destination cities, including Honolulu, have felt the drop more acutely, he said. Hawaii, along with many other destinations, has continued to struggle in recent years with a declining base of international visitors. Last year, total visitor arrivals from Japan to Hawaii fell by 9.4 percent and resulted in a 6.5 percent drop in visitor spending."

"As many as 80 percent of mayors, including Hannemann, surveyed by the Travel Business Roundtable say that they support expanding the visa waiver program, which provides greater ease of access to the United States for visitors from certain countries."

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Published on Wednesday, August 22, 2007 in Honolulu Star-Bulletin
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