In an editorial in the Wall St. Journal on Thursday, the US was applauded for finally making it easier for allies “from Estonia to South Korea” to visit America.
Now more countries are eligible for a visa waiver program, that in the past had made visiting the US a difficult task. The new legislation increases the number of countries can come to the US without visas. Twenty-seven countries now participate in a program that allows nationals into the US for 90 days without a visa, and now twelve more nations are being added to the list.
“When Canada waived visas for Koreans in 1994, visits shot up 80% in the first year. Each unique visit from a Korean pours an average of $3,700 into the US economy for airfare, hotel rooms, shopping and all of the taxes added to those expenditures, according to the commerce dept.”
The point is that increasing the number of overseas visitors makes a whole lot of economic sense, since they bring money to our businesses, hotels, and airlines. For too long we’ve hung onto fears about homeland security and kept out too many visitors.