The USA is losing out, AGAIN!

written in 2004, even more true in 2008!

Economic Facts!


China is the fastest growing economy in the world. The percentage of those living in poverty was 90% in 1995. That figure is now 10%! It's economic growth rate is 9.8%, 6.5% higher than the rest of the world. The lifestyle of the urban Chinese has changed from rice rationing to cell phones, condos, Toyotas, and yes, even Hummers.

China's rapid free-for-all economic expansion is like the gold rush days of the Wild Wild West of yore. Innovative freedom-loving Chinese Yuppies and business leaders are changing the core of their own country and are out exploring the world…with the exception of the U.S.!

With China's growing economic strength and gradual opening of the domestic tourism market, many foreign travel agencies have cast their eyes on China. By 2020 China will become the fourth visitor source country to Europe, says the general manager of Flying Travel Service, the biggest China-Europe touring organizer.

Last year China was the 3rd largest visitor source country for Germany,
next only to the United States and Japan, says manager of Asian Department of German Tourism Bureau. He adds that with China's impending WTO membership there would definitely be a great leap in the number of Chinese touring Germany.

The United States is missing out on the gold! The Travel Industry association of America's (TIA) Market Share Indicator report on MSI Online shows that the U.S. market share of international travel declined in 2002 from nearly every top tourist generating market. We can't blame the world economy. In 2002, long-haul travel from the top tourism markets declined only 5% while overseas arrivals to the U.S. declined 12%.

Since 1992, U.S. market share of all world travel is down 42%.

The population of China is 1.4 billion. If the top 20% income earners travel internationally, we have a potential Chinese tourist market of 280 million people. If only 1% of these (2.8 million) were to travel to the U.S., there would be an economic boom to the depressed U.S. West Coast and tourism industry.

The Problem:

Unbelievably, Chinese citizens are charged $100 for a one-minute visa application interview and are then routinely turned down by the U.S. consulates in China.

The US embassy states that they deal with 500,000 non-immigrant visa application, making $50,000,000 in the process. For not issuing visas!

The salient issue here is the difficulties the Immigration Service and embassies face in determining which visitors will return home at the end of their visa. The Chinese tourist is enjoying a very successful life in their homeland. Remember, rice rationing is no longer a way of life (although it may become one in the U.S.!) The Chinese visa applicant must prove before receiving a visa that they have intentions to return home after their stay in the U.S. Chinese foreigners are presumed guilty of intending to stay, unless they can prove their intentions to return. Round-trip tickets, family ties, expensive condos, and secure jobs are not enough to prove this.

Obviously, nobody can prove his or her intentions NOT to do a crime.
It's impossible.

The underlying problem is that the INS is quite incapable of enforcing it's own laws. The INS is notoriously NOT dealing with illegal immigrants and is NOT helping local communities who have to deal with them on a daily basis. If U.S. business were operated the same way, the U.S. would not be the U.S. as we know it.

The consulate turns most applicants down and thus prevents cultural exchange, international friendships and business contacts. They allow marriages after ONE hour meetings and thus immigration visas, but they do not allow getting to know each other first by any visits. And the INS complains that some of these marriages don't last!

Considering the unpopularity of Americans in some parts of the world, charging $120 for a visa denial is no way to change this. And from a business standpoint, it's flat out crazy. And it is highly unlikely that this policy will improve Chinese-American relations.

President Reagan challenged Russia and the world to "tear down this wall". At that time, people in communist countries were not allowed to travel. Now, they are allowed to travel but the USA has build walls around itself! The USA, the Land of the Free?

The Solution:

Walmart deals with shoplifters and does not exlude all shoppers and lock it's doors. Costco pre-qualifies the shoppers it accepts and Mastercard offers secured credit card accounts to questionable customers. If industry can deal with issues like this, perhaps the US government could learn from this?

Rather than the years and machinations required to change immigration laws, here are some recommended solutions:

With more sensible laws, there is less risk of visa abuses. With increased international tourism to the U.S., business and international relations grow. The U.S. (the West Coast in particular) will experience an economic boom. Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska and Hawaii don't appreciate watching while British Columbia enjoys the benefits of all the Asian tourists.
"Honcouver" (Vancouver-CANADA) loves it!

Valentin Caspaar, CEO, Inorex, Inc ,