A Note From Adam - November 2022

Adam Burke Headshot

Dear Valued Tourism Partners, 

Domestic leisure travel has driven the visitor industry’s recovery over the past year, however the return of international guests remains critical to our nation’s economy, with tourism representing the United States’ largest pre-pandemic service export.

International visitors stay longer and spend more than their domestic counterparts and – as a result – have a disproportionate economic impact. Looking just at Los Angeles, while one in four overnight guests in 2019 came from outside the United States, these travelers generated nearly two-thirds of all overnight visitor spending.

Put simply, destinations across the country will not see full economic recovery without the return of these vitally important guests.

During multiple international trips in recent months to meet with members of the global travel trade, I’ve been encouraged to see first-hand that there is tremendous pent-up demand for travel to the U.S. Unfortunately, with visa wait times of 400 days or more, many international travelers have no choice but to choose competitive destinations for the foreseeable future.

We unequivocally support U.S. Travel Association’s efforts to elevate this critical issue with the State Department and applaud the introduction of the Visitor Visa Wait Time Reduction Act (H.R. 9141), as well as the Department of Homeland Security’s recent decision to make an additional 65,000 H-2B temporary worker visas available for FY23.

That said, there are few issues with greater potential to substantially damage recovery within the travel sector, which represents one of the nation’s largest employers and impacts millions of small businesses that depend on tourism for their livelihoods.

So, how can you help? In concert with ongoing efforts across our industry, I strongly encourage you to contact your Members of Congress to voice your concerns. You can find contact information for your Senators here and your Representatives here

Above all, we are asking our colleagues at the State Department to take urgent and immediate action to ensure that the U.S. can effectively compete in the global tourism marketplace. With visa wait times of well over a year, we are effectively “closed for business” to international visitors from a host of countries that have historically made the United States one of the world’s preferred travel destinations.

Thank you for your support and willingness to voice your concerns on this important issue. 

All my best, 

Adam Burke 
President & CEO 
Los Angeles Tourism


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