• WEATHER ALERT Winter Weather Advisory

Obama's tourism push much appreciated in SF

January 19, 2012 7:21:00 PM PST
President Obama visited the happiest place on Earth Thursday to talk tourism and his announcement Thursday has implications far beyond the borders of the Magic Kingdom.

The president says his trip to Walt Disney World is the first time his daughters have envied his job.

"And, I confess I am excited to see Mickey. It's always nice to meet a world leader who has bigger ears than me," he joked.

But, he chose Disney's Cinderella Castle as a backdrop to talk about something more serious.

"I'm here today because I want more tourists here tomorrow. I want America to be the top tourist destination in the world," he said.

The president outlined his plan to make it easier for tourists to visit the U.S. from countries including China, Brazil and India, countries with a growing middle class that has lots of disposable income.

Tourist Weiru says, "I think that, that will be great."

He is visiting with his family from Shanghai. In the next few days, he plans to spend at least $1,000 because the dollar is such a good deal.

"Maybe like a camera or an iPad, or something like that," he told ABC7. "It's quite hot in Asia right now."

However, he is one of the lucky ones. He is a citizen of Singapore so he does not need a visa. But for Chinese citizens, the wait for a tourist visa could be months and the president has vowed, through executive orders, to speed that up.

The president's announcement is especially welcome news for business owners at Pier 39 who say they lost a lot of visitors from China and other countries a decade ago and want them back. Restaurant VP Bob Partrite says it has gotten better since then, but he would like to see more visitors from China. They are some of his best customers.

"They all want seafood, so the Dungeness crab is the big favorite and that is very popular in the Chinese market," he explained.

And, San Francisco has plenty more to offer.


Load Comments