President Obama's East Coast Swing

January 19, 2012

Who knew?

Last night President Obama performed held a fundraiser at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. He sang a phrase from Al Green's song, I'm So In Love With You.  He's quite a good singer!

Earlier in the day the president was in my hometown of Orlando. It is not surprising that President Obama picked Disney's Magic Kingdom to announce a new initiative to bring more visitors from Brazil and China to the United States. Tens of thousands of Brazilians travel to Florida every year to shop and visit the theme parks.

The initiative would ease travel restrictions to increase the numbers of tourists coming to the United States.

From the White House Press Release:

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 19, 2012 
We Can’t Wait: President Obama Takes Actions to Increase Travel and Tourism in the United States

This morning, President Obama will sign an Executive Order and announce new initiatives to significantly increase travel and tourism in the United States. The U.S. tourism and travel industry is a substantial component of U.S. GDP and employment, representing 2.7% of GDP and 7.5 million jobs in 2010 – with international travel to the United States supporting 1.2 million jobs alone. The travel and tourism industry projects that more than 1 million American jobs could be created over the next decade if the U.S. increased its share of the international travel market. Today’s announcement offers important steps to bolster job creation through a range of steps to better promote the United States as a tourism destination and improve secure visa processing. This is the most recent of a series of executive actions the President has announced to put Americans back to work and strengthen the U.S. economy.

“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. We need to help businesses all across the country grow and create jobs; compete and win. That’s how we’re going to rebuild an economy where hard work pays off, where responsibility is rewarded, and where anyone can make it if they try,” said President Obama.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, international travel resulted in $134 billion in U.S. exports in 2010 and is the nation’s largest service export industry, with 7% of total exports and 24% of service exports. The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that every additional 65 international visitors to the United States can generate enough exports to support an additional travel and tourism-related job. According to the travel industry and Bureau of Economic Analysis, international travel is particularly important as overseas or “long-haul” travelers spend on average $4,000 on each visit.

Today’s announcement calls for a national strategy to make the United States the world’s top travel and tourism destination, as part of a comprehensive effort to spur job creation. The number of travelers from emerging economies with growing middle classes – such as China, Brazil, and India – is projected to grow by 135%, 274%, and 50% respectively by 2016 when compared to 2010. Nationals from these three countries contributed approximately $15 billion dollars and thousands of jobs to the U.S. economy in 2010. In addition, Chinese and Brazilian tourists currently spend more than $6,000 and $5,000 respectively each, per trip, according to the Department of Commerce. The Department of State has made tremendous progress in processing non-immigrant visas from these key markets, allowing them to issue more than 7.5 million visas in the last fiscal year, a 17% increase from the previous fiscal year. In the 2011 fiscal year, consular officers adjudicated more than a million visa applications in China and more than 800,000 in Brazil, representing 34 % growth in China and 42% growth in Brazil. Improving visa processing capacity for China and Brazil is particularly important because of this growth.

GOP candidate Mitt Romney took out ads in Florida to coincide with the President's visit asking where are the jobs? Well, many new jobs are right here in Florida, as the past holiday season at the theme parks demonstrated. Orlando theme parks are always full during the winter holidays, but for the first time in years theme park guests had to be turned away during the holidays. The parks had to close their doors at all Disney and Universal parks for over a week. Tourists complained that they could not even move in the parks or get on rides because there were so many people. Ride waits were over 2 to 3 hours and major highways were like a parking lots with traffic jams for miles. Parks stayed open until 1:00 a.m. to accommodate the crowds of people. The influx of tourist to Orlando even made national news.

Central Florida had over 2.7 million tourists in 2010 and estimates for 2011 are higher. One in four jobs in Orlando is in the tourist industry.

Boboy and Nani work in competing theme parks. Boy is a trainer in the theaters in Animal Kingdom and Nani works in the Three Broomsticks at Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter. (I am the beneficiary with free passes. Every month I bring my children, grandchildren, friends and relatives to a park.) They both report record breaking amounts of tourists continuing into January. Maybe the economy is looking up.


Anonymous said...

The economy is not looking up. It is looking down the tubes. Unemployment figures are at 9% but really more like 25% if you include all those who have part-part time jobs. Florida's economy is one of the worst in the country Wendy. Not sure where you get your numbers from but Florida is the hardest hit with a staggering 50% foreclosure rate. Theme parks are always packed with tourists and cannot be a meter on how the overall economy is doing. When you look at employment numbers you should NEVER include Federal or state employees. The Federal government hires massive amounts of people during an election year just to get votes. The real numbers should only come from the private sector that is where our economy is strongest and weakest.

Wendy Doromal said...

Anonymous 3:17 I am always amazed that people post comments just for the sake of disagreeing and arguing. Look at some facts:

Florida's unemployment is the LOWEST in 3 years. It is not great, but it is improving!

2.Florida's housing sales activity grew in 2011 and the median prices of homes also rose -good news.

3. Theme parks are not always "packed with tourists." I have visited Disney and Universal parks at least once a month for years and I know these last few months have been way high in park visitors. (As indicated by links in the post I wrote.) When tourism is the main industry in a state anincrease in visitors means a stronger economy.

4. Orlando also attracts Brazilians and other tourists who come just to shop. Orlando was named the best U.S. city for bargain shopping.

I see by your IP location that you are far from Florida, perhaps you need to research some more?

Anonymous said...

The Tourism part will be a big help to Hawaii from China and Taiwan.
It may also help Guam as I don't really see the US applying the "visa waiver to Guam for the Chinese as they did with the Russians.(I may be wrong)
I doubt that the CNMI will benefit from anything until this admin is gone and they clean up the island, crime (start putting these criminals in jail) and the tourist sites.

Hopefully the East Coast and Southern States will be able to benefit from the South American and European visitors. (But Europe is in big problems now so that may not happen at this moment.

According to the news, South Carolina is supposed to be the hardest hit with unemployment at 10% along with foreclosures.
(Lets see what they say about Florida on the news coverage on the next stop for the Rep. primaries next week)

Also Obama is called "the Food Stamp" president.
There are more people on food stamps under Obama administration than in the history of his program.
Obama also canceled the Canadian pipeline until after the election for political reasons as he did not want to lose the environmentalists support but sacrificed thousands of jobs and possibly cheaper Canadian oil for political purposes.
Now the oil will go to China.
(CNN, Al Jazeera and Fox news)

BTW I am neither a Rep. or Democrat.
I am for the best person for the job when I go back and vote.
All have their good and bad points and have to be weighed against the experience and good for the economy and people as these big economies affect the rest of the world.

Anonymous said...

Noni 9:27 Of course there are more people on food stamps. Obama inherited the economic mess so more people are eligible. There are more people who are unemployed or working part time.

Anonymous said...

Noni 10:08 "There are more people who are unemployed or working part time."
You have just stated the points of many. Where are all of the jobs and the other promises?
Obama's way to cure everything was to throw more money at it and put uin a $15 trillion debt with most of that borrowed from China.
His Foreign policy is "not there" also.
But anyway this could be argued forever with the people arguing and standing their ground.
I do not agree with much of this military actions also.
I am also a disabled Vet from another era that was also not so popular.
But Oh well. we will see what happens in Nov.and who will be the Rep. candidate going up against him. Especially now that Gingrich has taken South Carolina.(40+%)
Since 1980's all of the Rep. candidates that have won in South Carolina have go on to win the nomination.
I am not so sure, of the people that are running, which one could win against Obama.
If the economy is still the same in Nov. then Obama for sure will be out.
Will we be better off then if that happens? Who knows.
Only time will tell.

the teacher said...

This initative is great news, especially for Florida and Hawaii.

Globalization has sent much US wealth abroad and America needs to take steps to reverse that trend. Inviting the wealthy to vacation is important and offering a retirement visa for any afluent person that buys a home is even better. That may even help the crumbling Commonwealth...if we could sell retirees houses...and if we had flights here for a reasonable price...

And Orlando is second to none...or so says one expert traveller...

Anonymous said...

OK now we have had the Obama's State of the Union address.

So how has Obama performed even with his first two years with the Dems in control of the house and Congress?

According to the three major news outlets, Florida has close to 10% unemployment (real unemployment at 18%)
Housing foreclosures are also extremely high. (forgot the numbers)
The average American's earnings are down to almost 20% from last year, nation wide.

Obama's rating are in the low to mid 40's (but the congress on the whole is in the low 30's)

The "Tea Party" is a disaster so we won't consider them.(my opinion)
Does anybody think that another term from Obama would prove better?
What about a Republican President in the upcoming election..
That looks like it would be between Rommney and Gingrich for the nomination?
Of those two who would have a chance at beating Obama?

Anonymous said...

BTW Obama did have what seems to be, on the surface, a decent opinion and plan concerning the Immigration reform (again) that he was pushing for action on (again)
If congress was to take action soon, (as was requested again) it most likely would affect the present situation in the NMI by granting a road to Citizenship for many. (not free)