Storm above Unkar Delta Grand Canyon

President Obama wants more international visitors at Grand Canyon

President Barack Obama says he wants to create more jobs by drawing more international tourists to the United States, a plan White House officials said would benefit states like Arizona, home to the Grand Canyon.

Storm above Unkar Delta Grand Canyon

Storm above Unkar Delta. Photo by Sue Wotkyns

Top officials from the Commerce and Interior departments have been requested to come up with a plan to increase tourism and recreation jobs by promoting foreign travel to the nation’s national parks.

Arizona will reap the most benefits from the initiative as tourism and outdoor recreation already play a large role in Arizona’s economy and the state’s iconic landscapes and many national parks and monuments already draw visitors from all over the world.

“As the President said today, the more people who visit the United States, the more jobs we create and the better it is for our economy,” White House spokesman Adam Abrams said after Obama’s speech. “The President is creating a task force to promote the best destinations that the U.S. has to offer, and Arizona, with its many natural wonders, from the Grand Canyon to Sedona, could benefit from more domestic and international visitors and as a result, more jobs and a boost to the state’s economy.”

Tourism is a $17.7 billion industry in Arizona, and there are 152,200 jobs directly generated by tourism, according to the state Office of Tourism. Tourism in Arizona generates a total of $2.5 billion in local, state and federal taxes, the office said.