President Obama announces plan to increase foreign tourism in U.S.

Plan welcome in Valley where tourism drives local economy

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - President Barack Obama is pitching the United States as a destination for tourists, saying foreign visitors contribute to the economy and help create jobs.

The president announced a plan Thursday designed  to attract 100 million international visitors a year to the U.S. by the end of 2021.

Tourism is a major driver of the local economy in the Coachella Valley and local tourism officials are already doing their share of marketing in foreign countries.

Scott White, president and CEO of  the Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau believes the key to the White House's strategy is the idea of making the arrival process into this country easier without jeopardizing security.

"If you're traveling and you're traveling with your family and kids and it's three or four hours going through customs, after you've had an eight-hour flight, you're probably not going to come back," said White.

According to figures from the Convention and Visitors Bureau, somewhere between 8 to 12 percent of the more than 12 million people who visited the Coachella Valley last year came from outside the United States.


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