President Obama Issues Executive Order at Disney World, Why?

| January 22, 2012

Thusday, January 19th President Barack Obama traveled to Walt Disney World.  However, this was no ordinary vacation or celebration of some sports championship.  Standing at the end of the Magic Kingdom’s Main Street U.S.A., President Obama issued an Executive Order aimed at increasing travel to the United States in the latest effort to boost the economy.  Continue after the break for more details on the strategy, and the role travel and tourism plays in the US Economy.

During a global recession where rhetoric has pitted “Main Street vs. Wall Street”, it was no coincidence the President delivered his speech standing on a representation of 19th Century Main Street America in the highest attended amusement park in the world (16,972,000 in 2010; source Themed Entertainment Association).

In the address, President Obama cited travel and tourism as one of our Nation’s leading industries.  US Travel Association data showed that travel to all United States destinations in 2010 alone generated $1.8 trillion to the US economy and supported 14 million American jobs.  In addition, direct spending by those travelers averaged $2 billion/day.  However, the President went on to say spending of international travelers had fallen more than 30% in the decade between 2000-2010.  Therefore, the Executive Order called for a national strategy to make the United States the world’s number 1 travel and tourism destination, thus spurring job creation.  “America is open for business,” President Obama told the crowd gathered in the Magic Kingdom.

In regards to the White House statement, Roger Dow, president of the US Travel Association, responded:

The steps the president took today are significant and will boost travel to and within the United States.  His timing could not be better.  Travel is an essential industry for our nation and a bipartisan issue that can unite our country and rally us forward.

Emerging economies with large populations – such as China, Brazil, and India – are projected to increase the number of travelers as much as 274% by 2016 compared to 2010.  Therefore, President Obama will also sign an additional Executive Order to decrease barriers for citizens from these countries to travel to the United States by increasing visa processing capacity for China and Brazil, expanding the expedited travel Global Entry Program, and adding to the number of countries in the Visa Waiver Program.  Brazil in particular is already a huge market for Central Florida tourism, and making it easier for Brazilians to travel to the US can only help the area’s theme parks.

Adrian Jones, General Manager of the newly opened LEGOLAND Florida theme park, called the President’s plan a “game-changer.”

An improved visa process helps us roll out the welcome mat to our friends in Brazil and will result in record numbers of young families visiting Florida.  Cost and convenience historically are two of the biggest barriers in travel.  By addressing the hassle factor and making the visa process less onerous, we’ve just substantially improved our chance of attracting additional guests.

The President’s National Travel and Tourism Strategy will seek to promote visits to “iconic American destinations” thereby expanding job creation within the United States.  “Every 35 international visitors we welcome to the US generates one American job that can’t be outsourced,” said Roger Dow, president of the US Travel Association.  The President’s Executive Order will also establish a Task Force on Travel and Competitiveness to shape the national strategy and set goals to ultimately increase the United States share of worldwide travel.

So what are your thoughts on President Barack Obama’s address given at the Magic Kingdom?  Do you think the Executive Order will boost travel and tourism to the United States?  Do you think it was appropriate for the President to deliver a major policy speech at a theme park?  Or would you rather keep politics separate from your vacation?  Leave a comment below to share your thoughts. 


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Category: Disney World

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  • KSNebraskan

    I’m not so sure cling down the Magic Kingdom for the speech and disrupting a lot of people’s vacations was a good idea.

  • stella

    I’m not so sure opening this article up to another political discussion was such a good idea. The threads about this topic that have circulated on the Disboards these past few days reminded me why we don’t have political threads on here in the first place…The writer’s questions are just opening up another nasty fight.

    Since you asked for it though, I don’t think this was such a big deal. WDW is a private corporation & they can have any special events that they want. I think they did a fantastic job at reducing guest disruption as much as possible-they chose the slowest time of the year to have this, it only disrupted one street (that has nothing on it but stores, a few restaurants, and currently ugly boxlike structures to hide current construction) for a few hours, they offered park hoppers for everyone, extra EMH, and a rare fireworks show at DHS. Apparently the crowds were very low that day & many people reported back that it ended up to be no big deal, in terms of disruption. As for the topic of the event?? WDW already mixes an apparent religious stance into their parks-in your face Christian from November through December-what’s a political speech that no one was forced (or even allowed in person) to watch if they didn’t want to? & regardless of people’s political views, it is a huge honor for the president of the US to visit WDW & great advertising for the parks.

  • focalpoint

    “making it easier for Brazilians to travel to the US can only help the area’s theme parks”.

    Clearly, someone hasn’t been to the parks at the same time as a Brazilian tour group.

  • gallicdenis

    He is not the first president, nor will he be the last president to use the Magic Kingdom for a photo-op and bully pulpit.

  • stella

    Focalpoint: Only been to the parks with the Brazilian Tour Groups once. But I have to say, I have been to the parks with AMERICAN lowlife trashy idiots with misbehaved kids tons of times……unfortunately, the president cannot do anything about them…..

  • eliza61

    You guys aren’t business folks are you? When you are trying to deliver a message on a new product you generally launch the idea from a place associated with that product. Launch a new car, you get a announcement from an auto show…
    Disney is synonomous with an American vacation spot, exactly the sort of place you want to encourage foreign travel. Was it a photo-opt? 100% yes but where should he have given the annoucement? A factory? an Office with cubicles?

    Whether or not you like the Brazillian tours, on average they spend ~6000 bucks per family. Yeah, if bringing in a boatload of Brazillians increases revenue to the state of Florida and the city of Orlando, I have one thing to say…

    BEM-VINDO AO ORLANDO!! (welcome to Orlando)

  • disneyokw2

    Are you kidding me!!!! Anyone who has been to Disney several times knows how the Brazillian’s act and how Disney does NOTHING!!!! Even when it is video taped. Since Obama’s annoucement our household has received several calls from family and friends on this issue (which has become a nuinacance). From what we hear (and whether they will actually do) Obama has lost votes. I can tell you for a fact (if Obama admistration checks these boards) he lost three votes from our household. I will NOT be voting for Obama. Is he crazy. He and everyone in his administration has not been to Disney when the Brazilian’s have been there.

  • disnmama100

    I don’t think the issue is how people from another country behave….it’s that we, the people of the United States, have been sold out-again-by our own country….the issue is that American citizens cannot afford a trip to our own theme park—–so let the flood gates open and invite people from other countries!!! Instead of making it more affordable for US citizens to go, and by this method raise tourism…..forget it!…..make it easy for foreigners instead…..anyone remember NAFTA??? Now we’ve just sold Mickey Mouse too :(

  • stella

    Disneyokw2: My guess is you were not planning to vote for Obama in the first place, so no votes were actually lost. Also, you are blaming Obama for the behavior of specific guests-really?? Common sense would say that maybe you should be targeting your anger toward WDW, if you feel they are not disciplining or treating their guests fairly. & if you are that prejudiced toward “the Brazilian’s” why are you traveling to WDW at all during that time of year, if you do not want to share the parks with them? Your anger seems to be a bit misplaced.

  • gallicdenis

    “so let the flood gates open and invite people from other countries!!! ”

    Interesting comment. I have no problem with that as long as they spend their money in the U.S. economy. I’d prefer to see money being brought into our country as opposed to being sent out of our country.

  • MassLovesDisney07

    I agree with disnmama100, as you can look at the disneyinterantional site and see that Europeans can buy a 21 day water park and more ticket for an adult for just $361.49, yet an American has to pay $346.00 for a 10 day water park and more ticket. They are also charged less for each night in a room and for the dining plan. Any American can check out the site, then convert from Euros to USD online with any currency conversion calculator. They advertise $800.00 week all inclusive with air fare for each adult.
    To gallicdenis I say: I can’t get there and have all that for anywhere near that kind of money. It would appear that Disney has some kind of sweet deal going with the airlines to offer such deeply discounted trips to our counterparts from other countries, but screw us Americans. For me to fly to Disney, I can’t possibly get any cheaper than $275.00 per person and then to stay at Disney costs me considerably more than the Euro price!!!!!
    So, I am not entirely sure just how much money Disney makes bringing folks here from other countries. I have met and made conversation with multiple people from multiple countries during my Disney stays, and they have all told me how cheaply they come here and how they do not shop or venture away from the parks and the hotels where they stay. They tell me they can buy Disney merchandise in their own countries cheaper!!!!!

  • nulyte

    I have to agree. Americans aren’t even guaranteed vacation/leave time and yet our government is catering to the foreigners. How about rolling out an executive order for American companies to mandate 2 weeks vacation? His real reason for expediting Visas is he wanted in on Brazil’s oil and then they snubbed him for China….it is about time our government started looking out for us. Our economy stinks and many Americans can’t even afford vacations. I am sure many Americans would be thrilled to go to Disney and I have met many military familes who commit 100%, 24/7 and they can’t afford to take their family to Disney. Again we get the shaft by our government leaders…

    Yes , I know that Disney offers the military a 4 day PH for $150 but they need transportation, food , lodging and extras so that PH is great if they can afford the rest…..

    http://news.investors.com/Article/598817/201201241908/us-reset-backfires-as-brazil-turns-to-china.htm

  • duffdo

    You know what MassLovesDisney07 raises a very valid point. I come from a middle class background in the UK and have visited WDW on numerous occasions. I make a point of speaking to groups visiting WDW from other parts of the USA and one topic I have discussed on many occasions is the cost of my holiday (vacation.) On one of my last visits, I was speaking to a group from Texas. They were shocked when I told them that we paid around $2000 per person for a 14 night stay staying in a value resort with flights and 14 day ultimate tickets (not sure what the US equivalent is, but it allows entry to everything.) I also remember one conversation I had with a teacher, who was surprised that I found WDW relatively inexpensive (which it is when compared with UK theme parks.)

    My personal experience would therefore suggest that ordinary US citizens are being “excluded” from visiting Disney. This is totally unfair, but when you look at it from Disney’s point of view, you can understand why they would want to entice international guests…..

    In terms of previous comments regarding Brazilian guests, I have had the “pleasure” of being in amongst the raucous of a tour group in The Magic Kingdom. I was physically pushed and spoken to in an aggressive manner. I guess they thought it was OK to push me out of the way because I was hindering their view of the fireworks….

    Disney belongs to the US…..End of discussion.

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