Departments of Commerce, Homeland Security Look to Improve International Arrivals

As part of the National Travel and Tourism Strategy announced by President Obama in 2012, the Department of Commerce and the Department of Homeland Security have jointly released a new report that outlines actions being taken to improve the international arrivals process for travelers coming to the United States. Titled "Supporting Travel and Tourism to Grow Our Economy and Create More Jobs: A National Goal on the International Arrivals Process and Airport-Specific Action Plans," the report focuses on 17 of the country's highest-traffic airports, accounting for nearly three-quarters (73.7 percent) of international traveler arrivals. The report establishes a new national goal to "provide a best-in-class international arrivals experience, as compared to our global competitors, to an ever-increasing number of international visitors." The two government agencies also are establishing a task force to build on the progress already made towards that goal, to be co-chaired by the deputy secretaries of both agencies. In conjunction with the report, $20 million in public-private partnerships has been established to install 340 additional automated passport control kiosks at the 17 high-traffic airports. "Today, 15 percent of international visitors come to the U.S. on business trips," commented Michael W. McCormick, executive director and COO of the Global Business Travel Association, "and as the U.S. economy grows this number will increase. Shorter lines, more efficient processes and better service all send a clear message: the US is open for business." The full report can be found here.