US red tape kept out $606B in tourist spending

AP file photoIn the decade since 9/11

AP file photoIn the decade since 9/11

WHAT: In the decade since 9/11, the U.S. economy lost out on an unprecedented global travel boom because of visa delays and other bureaucratic hassles. America’s share of the international travel market has dropped from 17 percent to 12 percent since 2000.

WHY: Tourist visas in the travel-hungry emerging markets can take as long as 100 days. In-person interviews with U.S. consular officers are required and often involve long waits for appointments and lengthy trips to a consulate.

HOW BAD: The U.S. Travel Association estimates red tape cost 467,000 American jobs, $606 billion in visitor spending  and $37 billion in taxes. Six million travelers from China, India and Brazil visited Western Europe last year, while only 2.6 million came here.

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