URGING THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION TO ENTER INTO A BILATERAL
AGREEMENT TO EXPAND LEISURE GROUP TRAVEL FROM CHINA TO THE
WHEREAS according to the Travel Industry Association, travel and tourism generates $104.9 billion in tax revenue for local, state and federal governments; and
WHEREAS international travelers spent $102.6 billion in the United states in 2005; and
WHEREAS with its rapid economic growth over the past decade, the increase in Chinese outboud travel has more than triple in the past five years; and
WHEREAS China's Ministry of Public Security estimates that in 2006, 34.5 million Chinese from Mainland China traveled to foreign destinations, such as Japan, Korea, Thailand and other Southeast Asian Countries, Europe and Russia; and
WHEREAS while many Chinese travelers would like to visit the United States, the major hurdle lies in the U.S. visa process, which requires all visa applicants to be interviewed in person by U.S. consular officers; and
WHEREAS there are only five U.S. consulates in the entire Mainland China, thereby making it extremely difficult for many would-be travelers to obtain the necessary visas to visit the U.S.; and
WHEREAS the Chinese government has developed a well-managed, orderly and controlled system of travel abroad for a greater number of its citizens by granting Approved Destination Status (ADS) to countries under a bilateral agreement whereby a foreign government allows Chinese tourists to travel to its territory; and
WHEREAS over one hundred countries have entered into such agreements, have been granted ADS and have experienced a substantial increase in the number of Chinese tourists visiting their countries; and
WHEREAS if the U.S. were to enter into a bilateral agreement that will make leisure group less restrictive , more Chinese tourists will be able to visit the U.S. thereby establishing a win-win relationship between China if the U.S.,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the United States Conference of Mayors urges the Bush Administration to enter into a bilateral agreement with China to expand Chinese group leisure travel to the United States.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the United States Conference of Mayors encourages the US Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, and the Department of Commerce to streamline the visa application process for Chinese group leisure travelers to the United States."