U.S. Travel Industry Develops Four-Point Plan To Enhance Welcome To International Visitors

In a year of expected healthy and thriving international travel, in recent weeks the U.S. travel industry has become concerned at the perceived lack of welcome some international visitors feel they will receive when they travel to the U.S.

Travel Industry Wire These negative perceptions have been generated largely by a few highly publicized problems associated with a number of new entry procedures the U.S. Departments of State and Homeland Security are implementing in order to enhance the safety of international visitors. In response, we, the U.S Travel Industry, representing destinations, attractions, hotels, airlines, cruise lines, motor coaches, rental cars, travel agents and more have created a four-point plan to assure our international visitors that we are addressing their concerns. Our industry wants to reassure international travelers that we are working aggressively with the U.S. government to ease the process of coming to the United States.

The safety of all travelers is our industry’s primary concern. We believe travel is safer today as a result of these new entry measures. But we also recognize there are still problems and adjustments that need to be made in order to reduce the stress that sometimes comes with traveling internationally in these difficult times.

Industry Four-Point Plan:

The industry is requesting that the U.S. Department of State add to their consular office staff in order to expedite the processing of visas in markets where traffic flows are problematic.

The industry is requesting that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security expand and enhance customer service training for front line immigration inspectors and if necessary, add staff, to ensure the queuing times at ports of entry are minimized and visitors are treated with respect and courtesy at all times.

The industry is requesting that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security make every effort to improve processes to eliminate instances of mistaken identity.

The industry is lobbying Congress hard to expedite the passage of H.R. 4417 and S. 2324 to extend the October 26 deadline requiring biometric passports for all visitors from the twenty-seven Visa Waiver Program countries. It has been successful in expediting the passage of H.R. 4417 and is working to have S. 2324 approved as well.These newer biometric passports will include facial recognition technology. None of the Visa Waiver countries including our largest trading partners and allies can meet the deadline.

The travel industry believes that if these four points are addressed immediately, both the reality and the perception of welcome given to international visitors will be significantly enhanced. America is open for business and we the travel industry and we the American people continue to welcome international visitors with open arms. We are a nation of immigrants, which is why Americans are famous for their warmth and friendliness. Our welcome is still as strong as ever.

TIA is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the $552 billion travel industry. TIA's mission is to represent the whole of the U.S. travel industry to promote and facilitate increased travel to and within the United States.

Logos, product and company names mentioned are the property of their respective owners.