MINNEAPOLIS, MN –U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar highlighted her efforts to increase tourism in Minnesota during a speech to Meet Minneapolis. During her speech, Klobuchar discussed how a strong tourism sector strengthens local economies and creates jobs in Minneapolis and across Minnesota. Klobuchar is co-chair of the bipartisan Senate Tourism Caucus and recently introduced legislation to boost international tourism to the United States and lift up local economies.

“Tourism is a powerful engine for job creation in Minnesota and across the country, and we need to do everything we can to encourage rather than discourage people from visiting the United States,”Klobuchar said. “I will continue to work to cut red tape that has been limiting international tourism so that our businesses can grow and thrive.”

International tourism plays an important role in creating U.S. jobs and boosting local economies.  In Minnesota, tourism is the fifth largest industry in the state, generating $11 billion in annual sales and providing nearly 11% of total private sector employment. In 2011, each overseas visitor to the United States spent an average of $4,200 during their stay and total international travel spending supported 1.2 million American jobs. 

Klobuchar chairs the bipartisan Senate Tourism Caucus and has long supported efforts to increase tourism to the United States as a way to drive economic growth. Klobuchar recently introduced the bipartisan Jobs Originated through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act with Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Mark Kirk (R-IL) and 18 other senators which would boost international tourism to the United States by expediting the processing of business and tourist visas, speeding up the time it takes to receive a visa interview, and exploring expanded visa operations in major tourism markets. Klobuchar has also introduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Blunt that would allow the State Department the flexibility to streamline and expand their visa processing services without compromising national security.