President Obama touts tourism in Baseball Hall of Fame

By Perry Russom

May 22, 2014 Updated May 22, 2014 at 11:47 PM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) The President of the United States was back in upstate New York.

President Barack Obama made a stop at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown Thursday afternoon to talk tourism.

"When visitors come (to Cooperstown) they don't just check out the hall," said Obama. "They rent cars, they stay in hotels, they eat at restaurants, and that means for upstate New York, the Baseball Hall of Fame is a powerful economic engine."

That engine purrs to the tune of 300,000 visitors every year. They bring in more than $160 million to the Otsego County economy.

It's estimated that every person who visits the Hall of Fame generates $500 in spending into the regional economy.

The president used the Hall of Fame as a stepping stone to show his increasing push to boost tourism to the States.

"Tourism translates into jobs and it translates into economic growth," said Obama.

This is a part of the National Travel and Tourism Strategy to bring more international visitors to the United States.

In the last five years, 175,000 American tourism jobs have been created. In the same time, the number of international travelers has jumped by 16 million.

The president said while the numbers are good so far, challenges still lie ahead.

"We know we are up to these challenges and just as our parents and our grandparents faced challenges a lot tougher than the challenges we faced and just as they went ahead and built an economy where hard work was rewarded and responsibility was rewarded and opportunity was open to all people, we can do the same," said Obama.

Obama said the good thing about tourism is the U.S. has a good product to sell and people want to come here.

His goal now is to make it easier for people to visit.

The president is developing a new national goal to speed up the entry process for travelers by reducing the wait time in the country's largest airports.

The president also announced the Department of Homeland Security will be expanding Automated Passport Control Kiosks in certain airports, which will reduce the wait time in airport lines.

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