This week, I was privileged to join our Deputy Assistant Secretary for Visa Services, David Donahue, in representing the State Department at the International Pow Wow in Los Angeles. Hosted each year by the U.S. Travel Association, the Pow Wow is the industry's premier marketplace for international travel. Exhibitors from America's top vacation spots meet with tour organizers and travel agents from around the world who are eager to bring international visitors to the United States.
You might wonder what the State Department is doing at a show like the Pow Wow. While a significant number of international visitors (65 percent) don't need a visa to visit the United States, we are streamlining the visa process for those who do.
The State Department plays an important role in facilitating inbound travel, and judging by my hoarse voice today, many journalists agree! Yesterday, I spoke to journalists from China, Russia, Ireland, Mexico, and Brazil for three hours non-stop. For me, the most rewarding part of the day was when several Brazilian reporters told me that we were doing a great job with the reduced wait times there.
Visas are an important tool in America's Jobs Diplomacy goals. After all, every additional 65 international visitors to the United States generate enough revenue to support an additional tourism-related job. That's why we are proud to support Brand USA, a public-private partnership with the mission of promoting increased international travel to the United States.
On Monday, Brand USA unveiled their marketing campaign in front of a packed room. The centerpiece of the campaign is an original song from Roseanne Cash. The crowd loved "Land of Dreams," and it was inspiring to see the diversity in people and places in the accompanying video. President Barack Obama also sent along a video message of support. It was great to see such high-level interest in the Pow Wow and Brand USA, which further demonstrates the U.S. government's commitment to secure and efficient travel to the United States.
Although I am exhausted -- and voiceless -- after my three days at the Pow Wow, I couldn't be happier to have witnessed the excitement about the extraordinary demand for travel to the United States and to get the word out on the State Department's efforts to encourage even more visitors to Discover America.