- CNTV English - CCTV News

US to streamline travel visas for Chinese

01-21-2012 08:39 BJT

By Wang Chenyan, Zheng Yangpeng and Tan Yingzi (China Daily)

WASHINGTON / BEIJING - The United States is expected to simplify and quicken the process of visa applications for Chinese travelers, US President Barack Obama announced on Thursday as part of an initiative to boost tourism.

"Every year, tens of millions of tourists from all over the world come and visit America. And the more folks who visit America, the more Americans we get back to work," Obama said in the White House news release.

Emerging markets such as China, Brazil and India are specifically mentioned in his plan as tourists from the three countries contributed about $15 billion and thousands of jobs to the US economy in 2010.

US President Barack Obama unveils a strategy aimed at boosting tourism and travel in
front of Cinderella's Castle at Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Orlando January 19, 2012.

The number of travelers from China is projected to grow by 135 percent by 2016 compared to 2010. Chinese tourists on average spend more than $6,000 per trip, according to the US Department of Commerce.

Under the initiative, the non-immigrant visa processing capacity in China will increase 40 percent this year and 80 percent of non-immigrant visa applicants will be interviewed within three weeks of receiving the application.

Charles Bennett, minister counselor for consular affairs of the US embassy in Beijing, told China Daily earlier that 50 more American staff members will be deployed to the embassy and US consulates in China this year.

In addition, more interview windows and buildings will be built and the embassy is considering allowing people to arrange an interview date as early as two days after he applied, he said.

He said that nearly 90 percent of the Chinese applicants will be issued a visa in 2012, a figure that has seen steady growth in the past decade.

Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger told CNBC on Thursday he supports the effort to streamline applications for tourist visas.

People from Brazil, India and China in particular "have the wherewithal to travel to the US and have a growing desire to do so", Iger said. "So if you can make it easier to come, it's a big deal."

"Obviously the international tourist is very valuable to us, because they tend to stay longer and spend more money," Iger said.

Many US travel associations believe that the US has some catching up to do in improving its visa policy and travel services for Chinese travelers.

The State Department has quickened the process of non-immigrant visas in China in recent years, handling more than 1 million visa applications in 2011, an increase of 34 percent from the previous year.

Sylvia Dai, an employee at a Beijing-based Japanese auto company, said it was too difficult and took too long to get a US visa even though she was invited and guaranteed by her company's US branch.

"I went on business to the US twice, in 2006 and 2010. But I had to wait in line for a long time, about five hours," Dai said.

Jin Canrong, deputy dean of the School of International Studies at Renmin University of China in Beijing, said the US initiative is a "smart" one as it creates a new engine for the US to recover from its economic difficulties.

"The growth potential of emerging markets such as China and Brazil is huge, so focusing on attracting tourists from China and Brazil is just an easy choice to make," he said.

Related stories

Editor:Wang Chuhan |Source: China Daily

Hot Videos view more

The celebrations are still continuing as the victorious coach, Joachim Loew, has been honored for his achievement in his hometown of Freiburg.
Germany coach Loew honored in hometown of Freiburg

Chinese men´s national team continued its preparations for next year´s Asian Cup, as they managed a one-all draw against visitors Jordan during a football friendly in Harbin, the capital city of Northeast China´s Heilongjiang Province.
China held to 1-1 draw by Jordan

The defending world champs came into the contest with a perfect 6-and-oh record, but they would be in for a tough first half before opening things up in the second.
USA beat Slovenia 119-76 in quarter-finals

Hot Stories more

UK authorities believe killer of James Foley is a British national

Across the UK the hunt is on for James Foley’s killer, who authorities believe is a British national. As Richard Bestic reports from London, Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his summer break to lead his government’s response.

Israeli war jets renews Gaza strike as truce talks stalled

Three Palestinians were killed and 40 others wounded in the intensive Israeli war jets´ airstrikes on the Gaza city on Tuesday night, shortly before an end of a 24-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip,

Missouri police arrest dozens after violent night

As the protests in the town of Ferguson, Missouri turned violent with police facing ´heavy gunfire´ from some ´criminal elements´, cops fired tear gas, stun grenades and arrested 31 demonstrators on Monday night.

Picture in news more

More Video News

Choose TV Program