U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes issued the following statement on a bipartisan letter signed by more than 80 lawmakers, led by Reps. Darren Soto (D-FL) and Peter Meijer (R-MI), calling on the U.S. Department of State to restore visa processing operations, reduce the backlog of appointments and lower visa wait times:
“Swift and efficient visa processing is critical to restoring the United States as a top destination for global travelers. With 60% of U.S. embassies and consulates partially or completely closed for visa processing—and average appointment wait times climbing to more than a year in some locations—a commitment to restoring visa operations and reducing the appointment backlog is necessary to ensure the U.S. inbound travel market will recover more quickly to pre-pandemic levels.
“We applaud the letters’ co-signers for their leadership on this issue and respectfully urge the State Department to fully resume visa processing operations worldwide, which will help sustain an even recovery across all sectors of travel.”
U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry. In 2020, travel generated $1.5 trillion in economic output and supported 11 million jobs, a drastic decline from pre-pandemic figures. U.S. Travel's mission is to increase travel to and within the United States. Visit ustravel.org for information and recovery-related data.