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Ken Salazar Visits San Diego Zoo In Push To Promote American Tourism

Aired 4/5/12 on KPBS News.

The Obama Administration's desire to create jobs though promoting tourism came to San Diego, as the interior secretary visited the zoo.

— At the San Diego Zoo, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar fed some flamingos, patted a rhinoceros and shared a stage with a koala bear. After that, he met with local tourism and business leaders to get some feedback on the Obama Administration's push to create jobs by growing tourism.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar pats a rhino at the San Diego Zoo. April 4, 2012.
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Above: U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar pats a rhino at the San Diego Zoo. April 4, 2012.

Salazar wants more foreign visitors to come to the zoo, as well as the rest of America's natural wonders and attractions. He was in San Diego yesterday to gather facts about promoting tourism.

Salazar said his goal was simple: To make the U.S. the top travel destination in the world.

"So from the San Diego Zoo, to the Statue of Liberty to the Everglades to Yosemite," he said, "we are a place people want to come to see this great country of ours."

Salazar is part of a task force that will soon report to the president. Preliminary goals include finding ways to loosen visa requirements and attract tourists from developing countries like China and Brazil.

Salazar says $150 million has been set aside to promote what he called "Brand America."

Barack Obama's tourism initiative was first announced in January at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

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