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The Scholastic Kids Press Corps is a team of about 50 Kid Reporters around the nation.  The interactive site brings daily news to life with reporting for kids, by kids.
president barack obama at disney world President Barack Obama speaks about tourism and travel on January 19 along Main Street USA at Walt Disney World. (Photo: AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

America is Open for Business

President seeks to boost travel and tourism economy

By Topanga Sena | January 24 , 2012

"We can't wait!"

That's the message President Barack Obama is taking around the country to gain support for his plans to jumpstart the economy. On Thursday, President Obama kicked off this campaign in Orlando, Florida, and made his pitch at the "Happiest Place on Earth."

In a speech delivered on Disney World's Main Street U.S.A. in front of the Magic Kingdom, the President announced plans on how his administration is planning to boost the economy through the tourism and travel industries.

"I'm here today because I want more tourists here tomorrow," the President said. "I want America to be the top tourist destination in the world. We want them spending money here in Orlando, in Florida, in the United States of America, which will boost our businesses and our economy."

The travel and tourism industry is a major part of the Central Florida economy. The area is home to major theme parks, such as Disney World and Universal Studios.

But travel and tourism is important to many other parts of the country, too.

"This is the land of extraordinary natural wonders – from the Rocky Mountains to the Grand Canyon, from Yellowstone to Yosemite," President Obama said. "We've got the best product to sell. I mean look at where we are. We've got the most entertaining destinations in the world."

Joining the President at Disney World was Secretary of Commerce John Bryson and Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar. They have been tasked with developing recommendations for a national travel and tourism strategy to promote domestic and international travel throughout the United States.

Part of the President's plan will focus on marketing the natural wonders and man-made destinations in the United States. This will be done through a nonprofit organization called Brand USA.

Another focus will be on attracting international visitors. The President said the goal is make it easier for foreign tourists to come to the United States without compromising the nation's security.

President Obama said his administration would use the Global Entry Program to achieve this balance.

"[The program] protects our borders and makes life easier for frequent travelers to and from the United States," the President said. "Now, getting into the program requires an extensive background check. But once you're in, once you've proven yourself to be a solid individual who is coming here for business or recreation purposes, instead of going through long lines at immigration, we can scan your passport, your fingerprints, and you're on your way."

For the Floridians at the speech, Obama's plans for boosting the tourism and travel economies left them excited.

Ruben Perez was one of the many Orlando residents at the President's speech. Perez is a small business owner and had the job of introducing the President.

The Kids Press Corps spoke with Perez after the speech about the importance of President Obama's plans.

"It's very exciting for Orlando," Perez said. "Getting more traffic to our city, to tourism, to the convention center is going to be great for everybody."

Another excited Florida business representative was Rich Smith, Executive Director and CEO of PGA North Florida Section.

"Orlando, Central Florida, North Florida, where we reside, is the golf capital of the world. Plenty of room for visitors and vacationers to enjoy the experience," Smith told the Kids Press Corps. "Golf is a game of life, fun, fitness, and friends, and that's the message we're distributing in 2012. We're very excited about the President's announcement today."

Kid Reporter Topanga Sena shares the experience of covering President Obama's speech at Disney World. Check out her post on the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps Blog!

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