President Obama calls for additional tourism to US in Disney World speech
Hey, as a theme park fan, this sight is just cool, isn't it?
President Obama visited the world's most popular theme park, Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, to announce plans to encourage and facilitate more international tourism to the United States.
Requisite joke: "I'm excited to meet Mickey. It's always nice to meet a world leader who has bigger ears than me."
Obama's plan includes additional industry-funded marketing for U.S. destinations, including the Orlando theme parks, as well as expedited visa processing for visitors from China and Brazil. Obama also expressed a desire for Congress to add more countries to the list of nations whose visitors do not need visas to visit the United States, including Brazil.
Update: Legoland Florida wins the PR award for emailing the quickest response:
“This development is a major game-changer for Florida. An improved visa process helps us roll out the welcome mat to our friends in Brazil and will result in record numbers of young families visiting Florida.
Cost and convenience historically are two of the biggest barriers in travel. By addressing the hassle factor and making the visa process less onerous, we’ve just substantially improved our chance of attracting additional guests...
The fact that we’re already seeing large numbers from Latin America combined with today’s announcement is pushing us to seek out more Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking model citizens to better accommodate our guests from across this region.” - Adrian Jones, General Manager - LEGOLAND Florida
What's the PR equivalent of photobombing? :^) But Jones is right, making it easier for more people to visit Central Florida is nothing but good news for the area theme parks and the area economy. Get ready for more Brazilian tour groups*, everybody!
Update 2: *Or maybe not. See my point in the comments.
As someone who visited a Florida theme park last week, I'm not so sure we need to make it easier for Brazil...
I hate to admit this, but the "ears" joke made me smile. sorry, couldn't help it.
Just wanted to add, as a citizen of Switzerland who doesn't need a visa to enter the US as a tourist (this is true for visitors from most European countries as well) I think the most exciting piece of information was that the Global Entry program will be expanded to additional countries (currently only open to US citizens, legal residents, Mexican, Canadian and Dutch citizens)
I was reading an article in USA Today that Europe might be more affordable if the Euro currency collapses. I may be due a visit to Italy and Greece, barring any cruise ship accidents or public riots.
Obama, I don't need another incentive to visit your country. I've already hopped across the pond 5 times in the last 2 years...
The more I think about this, the more I'm coming around to thinking that these steps might
That... actually makes a lot of sense, Robert.
Your logic is very sound. Because of the fear of possible immigrants, the visa requirement is much more a hindrance to younger adults and parents than to a teen.
Disney and other tourist industry companies have a powerful lobbying presence in Washington DC. If tourism related legislation were making its way through Congress and were going to be announced in such a public manner by the President of the United States, I am certain that the industry bean counters evaluated the economic short term and long term prospects.
Hopefully the increase in brazilian tourists makes up for the other tourists that the increase in brazilians keeps away. Unless something in the park is changing to accommodate these greater numbers of guests, why would I be happy about this? And before you bring up the "parks make more money and can build new rides" i say they already so that now. And I understand it helps the country and economy, etc. But speaking not as a patriotic American, but as a tourist who's weighing my options, I'll take the shorter lines and ethnocentrism of hershey/Busch gardens/kings dominion.
I happen to think you're looking at the tour group trend narrowly. Brazil might be sending mostly youth groups to WDW, but they could be catering to all age groups. The mix of tour groups versus individual vacations will change with the new visa requirements, but this depends on what they are seeing and whether they have the confidence to do their own vacations. Tour groups are favored for people who don't know the language and want to visit as many places as possible. I did a Europe tour where I visited 12 countries and 14 cities over a 3.5 week span, but this was a long time ago. The visa requirements were irrelevant to me taking the vacation. Tour groups are helpful if you want an inclusive vacation (most tickets, meals, shows, transportation, fees/taxes, and rooms are included).
I think you might be over thinking a bit on the tour groups. Higher standards of living or not, when traveling to a foreign country with an unknown language, people will feel much more comfortable being in a touring group with a guide. Even many Americans still travel abroad in touring groups.
Obama's animatronic looks very real! Disney almost fooled me.
I've never heard of a U.S. president calling for more tourism.
Too bad its easier to get into most countries that require a Visa than to the US without an official Visa requirement.
Robert, just some remarks about your points:
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