Israel VWP admission to add $1.8 billion to U.S. economy

WASHINGTON – U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman issued the following statement on Israel’s admission to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP):

“The highly successful Visa Waiver Program has a proven record of boosting travel exports and U.S. global competitiveness, benefiting U.S. destinations, businesses and the broader American economy. Following Israel’s admission to the Visa Waiver Program, the U.S. can expect to welcome 200,000 additional Israeli visitors per year, generating an additional $800 million in direct travel spending and producing an economic impact of roughly $1.8 billion.

“U.S. Travel has long called for an expansion of the Visa Waiver Program for its numerous security and economic benefits. The U.K., one of the biggest competitors for global travelers, permits visa-free travel for more than 100 countries while the U.S. allows only 41 countries the same access. It is critical that the Biden administration continues to work alongside our key inbound markets to grow this vital program and increase U.S. global competitiveness.”

By November 30, 2023, the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) will be updated to allow citizens and nationals of Israel to apply to travel to the United States for tourism or business purposes for up to 90 days without first obtaining a U.S. visa, a step which further strengthens the security, economic and people-to-people ties between the United States and Israel. Following updates in Israel’s travel policies, all U.S. citizens may request entry to Israel for up to 90 days for business, tourism, or transit without obtaining a visa.

“The designation of Israel into the Visa Waiver Program is an important recognition of our shared security interests and the close cooperation between our two countries,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “This designation, which represents over a decade of work and coordination between the United States and Israel, will enhance our two nations’ collaboration on counterterrorism, law enforcement, and our other common priorities. Israel’s entry into the Visa Waiver Program, and the stringent requirements it entails, will make both of our nations more secure.”

“Israel’s entry into the Visa Waiver Program represents a critical step forward in our strategic partnership with Israel that will further strengthen long-standing people-to-people engagement, economic cooperation, and security coordination between our two countries,” said Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken. “This important achievement will enhance freedom of movement for U.S. citizens, including those living in the Palestinian Territories or traveling to and from them.”

The article Israel VWP admission to add $1.8 billion to U.S. economy first appeared in TravelDailyNews International.

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