Sometimes, good ideas seem so simple. Like a suggestion from hospitality-industry executive Bill Marriott Jr. that could put thousands of people to work, many in jobs that won't require a college degree.
Writing in the June 13 Fortune magazine, Marriott proposes making it easier and faster to get a tourist visa to visit the United States. According to the Commerce Department, a 10 percent increase in international visits would create 100,000 jobs.
New rules that came into effect after 9/11 require residents of some countries, including Brazil, Russia, India, and China, to be interviewed in person at a U.S. consulate to obtain a tourist visa. Fine, but the wait time for an interview in China is 48 days.
The visa restrictions are one reason this country's share of international tourism dropped from 17 percent in 2000 to 12 percent in 2010. "Unlike the U.S., European countries do not require a visa for Brazilian citizens, so no wonder more Brazilians go to Europe," said Marriott.
He proposes a target of five to 10 days to process a tourist visa. To do that, visa-processing centers must be better staffed, videoconferencing centers used to expedite interviews, and the number of countries eligible for tourism-visa waivers increased.