The United States is the only major country in the world to which travel has declined during the midst of this most recent travel boom, Fareed Zakaria writes.

In a world of expedited travel, getting a visa to enter the United States has become a laborious process. It takes, on average, 69 days in Mumbai, 65 days in São Paolo and 44 days in Shanghai? simply to process a request. It’s no wonder that quick business trips to America are a thing of the past. Business travel to the United States declined by 10 percent between 2004 and 2005 (the most recent data available), while similar travel to Europe increased by 8 percent.

The resulting loss isn’t just cultural, it’s also economic. Since 9/11 the 17% drop in tourism has resulted $94 billion in lost tourism revenue, 200,000 lost jobs and $16 billion in lost tax revenue.

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[photo by: ThaiKimberly]