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U.S. government taking steps to attract foreign visitors: report

(Xinhua)

10:50, September 20, 2012

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. government is taking steps to attract more foreign visitors, aimed at job creation in the country's travel and tourism industry, the White House said on Wednesday in a statement, citing a report from the departments of state and homeland security.

The report, which outlines measures already or being taken, came after President Barack Obama in January directed federal agencies to expand the nation's ability to attract foreign visitors while maintaining high standards of security, the statement noted.

According to the report, U.S. visa processing has been much improved in key markets. In China, consular officers are keeping interview wait times to an average of five days in 2012 while managing a year-on-year 37-percent increase in visa demand.

The United States has established a pilot program that allows consular officers to waive in-person interviews for certain nonimmigrant visa renewal applicants in 28 countries.

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