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Here’s What Barack Obama Has To Say About Travel And Tourism

By Victoria M. Walker

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Since leaving the White House, former president Barack Obama has occupied his time not with concerns about what’s been going on at his former residence. Instead, he’s been traveling.

Since leaving office, Obama has been spotted on vacation in Hawaii, Martha’s Vineyard, and a month-long excursion to French Polynesia.

More recently, he served as the keynote speaker for the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit in Seville, Spain. During the summit, Obama said that solo travel when he was younger changed his life, and that he enjoys exploring what the world has to offer with his family. And he offered some advice for travelers as well as the tourism industry in general.

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“If you’re part of a tourism council in a city or nation where young women feel uncomfortable where they’re traveling, that will potentially reduce your market,” said Obama. “Young women aren’t going to put up with that. They don’t need to feel harassed or uncomfortable when they travel.”

He also said there should be more inclusivity in getting travel visas, citing China and Brazil as examples.

“We saw huge growth in people in Brazil with disposable income that wanted to travel and go to Disney and other places,” Obama said. “But they could only get a visa in Sao Paulo or Rio. Brazil is a massive country. That was going to cap how well we were going to do.”

The vast majority of countries with visa-free restrictions on passports are in Europe. The African continent and many parts of the Middle East face some of the strictest barriers in visa-free entries. Eritrean passport holders, for instance, need a visa before arriving in 154 countries, according to the Passport Index. Just ten countries in the world allow Eritrean passport holders into their countries visa-free.  

RELATED: Travel Hack: Here’s How To Find The Visa Requirements For Any Country

“I believe in bringing people together instead of separating them out as us and them,” Obama said. “If we try to reassert hard, fixed borders at a time when technology and information are borderless, not only will we fail but will see greater conflict and clashes between peoples.”

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Victoria M. Walker

Victoria M. Walker is an award-winning multimedia journalist and full-time lecturer in the Department of Media, Journalism, and Film at her alma mater, Howard University. She was previously the breaking news and viral content video editor at The Washington Post.

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