(Miami-Dade County, FL) -- A resolution sponsored by Commissioner Javier D. Souto which urges the federal government to extend visa waiver status to Argentina, Brazil and Chile, was approved during the Board of County Commissioners meeting on July 19, 2011.
The Visa Waiver Program is a U.S. government program which allows citizens of specific countries to travel to the U.S. for tourism or business for up to 90 days without having to obtain a visa. Citizens of Bermuda, Canada and Mexico can also travel to the U.S. without a visa. To be admitted to the Visa Waiver Program, a country must meet various security requirements, such as enhanced law enforcement and security-related data sharing with the U.S., and also maintain high standards for counterterrorism, law enforcement, border control, and document security. Of the 5.8 million international visitors to Miami-Dade County in 2008, 43 percent came from South America. According to Souto, extending the Visa Waiver Program to Argentina, Brazil and Chile will be beneficial in Miami-Dade County.
"I want to Join Bill Talbert, President of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau in urging Congress to extend visa waiver status to Brazil, Argentina and Chile which will facilitate the ability of Brazilians, Argentineans and Chileans to visit Miami prompting a significant boost to our local economy as we received visitors with disposable incomes from nations with growing economies. This will create jobs not only in the hotel and travel industry, but also in retail sales, and in construction, real-estate and banking, as these visitors seek to invest in Miami," said Commissioner Souto.
"Our economy depends on tourism and in turn these visitors invest in our community in many ways. The adoption of this congressional legislation could be a tremendous antidote to the recessionary economy we are currently suffering in South Florida, as well as the double digit unemployment," said Commissioner Souto. "We will ask the lobbyists and law firms retained by Miami-Dade County in Washington D.C. to represent our County's interest to advocate on behalf of the Visa Waiver Status for these nations. We would love for the Congressional legislation to be extended to include some of our other friends in Latin America like Colombia, Peru, and others."
For more information, please contact Commissioner Souto's office at 305-222-2116.
A copy of the resolution can be found here: http://www.miamidade.gov/govaction/matter.asp?matter=111548&file=true&yearFolder=Y2011