The JOLT Act: 4 Ways It Would Positively Impact Our Industry

May 31, 2013

I recently had the privilege to represent GES at a roundtable discussion in Las Vegas with Congressman Joe Heck (R-NV). It was hosted by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), the U.S. Travel Association and Station Casinos.

My conversations with Congressman Heck were simply refreshing. I’m not much of a beltway insider and I don’t interact with politicians on a daily basis, but I came away from the meeting impressed by his knowledge of the challenges show organizers face when attracting international attendees to their U.S. trade shows and the downstream effect on participating exhibitors when a key international buyer cannot get a visa to attend.

What’s the “JOLT Act?” It stands for, “Jobs Originated through Launching Travel.” The JOLT Act is bipartisan legislation that was introduced by Representatives Joe Heck (R-NV), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Mark Amodei (R-NV), David Cicilline (D-RI) and Michael Grimm (R-NY) to leverage the benefits of inbound travel to the U.S. to increase not only economic growth, but also create jobs, generate additional tax revenue and boost U.S. exports.

The JOLT Act would impact OUR industry in four significant ways:

  1. 1. Modernize and expand the, “Visa Waiver Program.”
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  5. 2. Facilitate the use of secure video conferencing to expedite visa interviews.
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  9. 3. Reduce visa wait times.
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  13. 4. Expand global entry.

I was encouraged when Congressman Heck mentioned that due to the bipartisan nature of the legislation, he’s getting support from his colleagues whose states also depend on tourism. Additionally, he explained that the districts that depend on manufacturing goods and selling products abroad have a vested interest too.

If you’ve been in the exhibition industry for as long as I have or even if you’ve recently joined, you know there is no better way to connect buyers and sellers than trade shows. Shows offer exponential value in connecting international buyers and sellers who normally wouldn’t be able to meet in their everyday life. If the U.S. wants to double exports, as stated by the President, there’s no better way than making it easier for international buyers to attend U.S. trade shows.

Being that Las Vegas is the premier business, conventions and meetings destination in the world, it is only fitting that the LVCVA continues to lead and support the greater meetings and tourism community by hosting these discussions. Please contact your congressman or senator to voice your support for the JOLT Act!

What potential do you believe the JOLT Act has to affect our industry? Share your thoughts below!

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