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NRF welcomes Obama's plans to boost U.S. tourism

WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation said it welcomed President Obama’s plans to boost travel and tourism, saying efforts to process visa applications more quickly will help U.S. stores make more sales to foreign tourists and business travelers who want to come here to shop.

“In a global economy, importing customers is a key component in the balance of trade,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Speeding up the visa process is one of the quickest ways to boost the U.S. economy. There are millions of citizens of nations with growing economies who want to come to the United States to shop for brands that are known around the world. We shouldn’t let long lines at U.S. embassies and consulates make them decide to take their shopping dollars elsewhere.”

NRF joined the Discover America Partnership visa reform coalition last spring and rallied retailers’ support for legislation in both the House and Senate. Shay raised the issue with officials at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing during a visit to China in October, and visa reform is a key component of NRF’s Retail Means Jobs campaign.