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U.S. visas are hard to get

Passports and visas

Jeremy Hobson: Well to Las Vegas now where the global travel and tourism summit is going on today. And a big concern at the summit is just how difficult it is for overseas tourists to get a visa to visit the United States.

Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer reports.


Nancy Marshall Genzer: The question is whether the U.S. should make it easier for foreign tourists to get visas to come here. Right now, the U.S. requires a face-to-face interview. And at the American embassy in Beijing, there are only 24 windows for visa processing. Roger Dow of the U.S. Travel Association says that's crazy.

Roger Dow: It's the equivalent of having one cashier at Costco over the holidays. You'd never do that.

Dow wants the Obama administration to streamline the process: increase visa fees and use the money to hire more embassy staff, and use video conferencing for visa interviews.

Rossi Ralenkotter heads the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. He says the growing middle classes in China and Brazil have money.

Rossi Ralenkotter: Travel is one way of spending the discretionary dollars. So we need to be ready for that as a country to accept those new potential visitors.

Ralenkotter says it'll also become harder for Vegas to attract big conventions if the visa process isn't smoothed out.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.
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