US sees 15% growth in Filipino tourists
Donnabelle L. Gatdula (The Philippine Star) - July 19, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - More Filipino tourists are expected to visit the United States soon as the number of non-immigrant visas issued has been increasing, officials from the US Embassy said.

In a press briefing, US Commercial Service senior officer James McCarthy said they are looking at a 15-percent growth in the number of Filipino tourists visiting the US in the next few years.

For his part, consular officer Fausto de Guzman said there has been a steady growth of non-immigrant visas being processed and approved by the US Embassy in Manila for the past years.

De Guzman noted that of the 6.4 million non-immigrant visas processed annually around the world, a significant number comes from Manila.

From  179,532 in 2010, the number of US non-immigrant visas issued to Filipinos rose to 189,283 and 211, 179 in 2011 and 2012, respectively. 

The US Embassy official also noted that eight out of 10 visa applications have been approved.

“There are plenty of Filipinos who are qualified for a US visa. We are interviewing about 700 applicants a day or an average of 125 to 130 applicants per consul a day,” he noted.

Last year, he said about 79 percent of visa applications lodged at the US Embassy in Manila were approved.

A special US delegation from Utah was in the country recently for a trade and tourism mission.

Brett Heimburger, Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development director for Asia Pacific, said there are presently about 6,000 to 10,000 Filipinos living in Utah.

As an attractive tourist destination, Heimburger said Utah showcases the best skiing sites and national parks in the US.

Utah, located in the western US, is accessible via Salt Lake City International Airport. It is the 13th-largest, the 34th-most populous, and the 10th-least-densely populated state in the mainland.

ASIA PACIFIC BRETT HEIMBURGER COMMERCIAL SERVICE DE GUZMAN FAUSTO GUZMAN MORE FILIPINO OFFICE OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SALT LAKE CITY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT UNITED STATES UTAH GOVERNOR
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