U.S. and Western New York must ensure that the ‘open for business’ sign stays on
Attracting more tourists to the United States needs to be a top priority in Washington. Part of that work means expanding – and possibly rebranding – the nation’s Visa Waiver Program.
Tourism is a particular interest to anyone living in the Buffalo-Niagara region, with its place on an international border and the allure of Niagara Falls. Of course, there are many other interesting sites, cultural and sports attractions to keep families busy and entertained. But if there is a cap – even if it only perceived – on the number of visitors who might be allowed in, that’s a problem.
When it comes to travel, oftentimes perception becomes reality. How many places have been crossed off the bucket list because of bad press and rumors?
It is imperative that the United States maintain its attraction to people venturing from other countries and prepared to spend money.
As outlined in a recent Los Angeles Times article printed in The News, there is keen interest in expanding the Visa Waiver Program, which allows travelers from 38 countries to visit the United States without visas. Lawmakers must carefully consider security issues, of course, but in cases where it makes sense, they should look to expand the number of countries the program covers.
A trade group for the nation’s travel industry is taking another potentially useful approach by pushing a new “tougher sounding ” name for the program: the Security Travel Partnership. Jonathan Grella, executive vice president at the U.S. Travel Association, worries that the word “waiver” sounds overzealous and unconcerned with security. Rebranding with a new name could create a new perception.
The trade group needs bipartisan support from lawmakers in Washington, D.C., both to rename the program and to expand it to include nine new countries, which include Poland, Argentina, Israel and Brazil. There’s also a bigger tourism-boosting effort among travel and tourism leaders who are concerned that the United States is, slowly but surely, losing its footing as the most popular destination for international tourists.
Consider the strong U.S. dollar, economic turmoil in Europe, trade tensions with China and harsh anti-immigrant talk emanating from Washington. It all adds up to a money-losing proposition, and the possibility that China, which is already closing in as the world’s new tourism hotspot, will claim the title.
To spell it out in dollars and cents, by 2030 travel and tourism is expected to contribute $3 trillion into the Chinese economy. The United States is expected to pull in $2 trillion in travel and tourism spending by they the same year, according to statistics released by the World Travel & Tourism Council, a London-based nonprofit.
Interestingly, the expansion of the program appeared to have the support of President Trump. Time will tell if legislators follow through.
Expansion and rebranding of the Visa Waiver Program is in this region and country’s best interest. been troubling ones for him. Once he tried to commit suicide while he was still very young. Whatever brought him to that dark place remained with him his whole life.
He spent his formative years in the tumultuous 1960s, when a seductive counterculture roared into being. Bill was at its forefront, and lived a rock ‘n’ roll life.
He was glorious to behold – tall and whippet thin, with tight jeans and a long full golden head of hair. He lived in San Francisco when it served as a magnet for rock music, left-wing activism and psychedelic drugs. He was present with American Indian activists at Wounded Knee.
He said that the two most important things in life to him were jeans and rock ‘n’ roll. He burned bright, and began a long process of burning out. All the signal features of such a young, bright life do not wear well into middle age, and the drinking and drugs that My View were part of his life eventually caught up with him.
He was an alcoholic. Perhaps he had a genetic makeup that caused his addictions to get such a strong hold on him. He certainly had a void he tried to fill, a dark place that seemed to grow and take hold of him. The drinking pushed it away, quieted it for a while. Late in his life, he spent six months in a psychiatric center, with no alcohol and a lot of counseling.
The day he was released, he started drinking again. Eventually it re-sulted in his death.
Bill dropped out of college and defaulted on his student loans. That shaped his work life, as he always worked underground and off the books so that he couldn’t be tracked and caught.
So, unlike me, he did not build up Social Security or a pension, and that left him in middle age dependent on family and friends.
At Bill’s funeral service, the place was full of people whose lives he had touched, who spoke glowingly of how he was the only person who had ever really listened to them and understood them. They loved him; they admired him; they lionized him.
Once he tried to write a novel. It was called “Rouge et Noir,” and was set in a post-Apocalyptic America.
He wrote only fragments, and what he left behind is episodic, lyrical, brilliant, dangerous – a reflection of who he was. Ernest Hemingway wrote, “Nobody ever lives their life all the way up except bullfighters.”
I believe that Bill lived his life all the way up. Bullfighters live dangerous lives and often die young. Bill lived a dangerous life and died young. But while he was alive, oh how he burned bright.