U.S. Travel Association’s Commission on Seamless and Secure Travel Identifies Five Bold Steps to Boost National Travel Competitiveness and Benefit Visitors

Date:

WASHINGTON – The United States stands on the cusp of major, long-awaited innovations in travel security and facilitation—developments that will enhance the country’s ability to more aggressively compete for global travelers and reverse a lagging rate of recovery as other nations excel, according to work underway by the Commission on Seamless and Secure Travel and the U.S. Travel Association.

It’s time for U.S. officials to make a leap forward and put available tools in place at U.S. airports and borders to securely facilitate millions of new inbound visitors. With the World Cup, the Summer Olympics and other milestones just ahead of us, a decade of major events is on the horizon, and we must be prepared to efficiently and securely process millions of travelers to fully realize the benefits of serving as a host country. Geoff Freeman, President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association

In a visit last week to the U.K., the Commission on Seamless and Secure Travel, chaired by former Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan, engaged with U.K. airports, airlines and U.S. government representatives on efforts to modernize travel. Commission members met with leaders at London Heathrow Airport and officials from Gatwick Airport, Edinburgh Airport, Virgin Atlantic, International Airlines Group and British Airways, and senior personnel of the U.S. Embassy in London.

The Commission on Seamless and Secure Travel and the U.S. Travel Association conducted a field visit to Heathrow Airport.— Source: U.S. Travel AssociationThe Commission on Seamless and Secure Travel and the U.S. Travel Association conducted a field visit to Heathrow Airport.— Source: U.S. Travel Association
The Commission on Seamless and Secure Travel and the U.S. Travel Association conducted a field visit to Heathrow Airport.— Source: U.S. Travel Association

Readying next-level innovations

The U.S. is building effective partnerships with counterparts in the U.K. and other allied nations to advance major innovations in travel security and facilitation. Key initiatives Commission members are pointing to that require federal government action include:

  • Lifting limitation levels on liquids and related items in carry-on bags;
  • Scaling the One-Stop Security initiative to allow passengers and their bags traveling from select international airports to bypass duplicative screening upon arrival in the U.S. when continuing on to connecting flights;
  • Modernizing Preclearance at designated foreign airports to inspect travelers prior to arrival in the U.S.;
  • Leveraging biometrics to strengthen security, improve the passenger experience and protect privacy—from visa vetting to customs inspection and passenger screening; and
  • Reforming the U.S. visitor visa process to meet increasing demand for travel to the United States.

Each of these steps will both enhance security and improve travel facilitation.

Earlier this year, a Euromonitor International survey found the United States ranked 17 out of 18 major countries in terms of global travel competitiveness. The commission was formed in response to this survey, with the goal of understanding how the country can more effectively compete for global travelers and create a vision and policy recommendations to modernize the travel experience, increase U.S. competitiveness and facilitate growth.

With the Commission’s critical work nearing the mid-way point, security-based solutions that will give the U.S. a roadmap to best-in-class traveler security practices and grow our share of inbound travel is coming into clear focus, Freeman said.

A report by the Commission on Seamless and Secure Travel is expected to be delivered to lawmakers and officials in Washington this fall.

About U.S. Travel Association

U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing the $1.3 trillion travel industry, an essential contributor to our nation’s economy and success. U.S. Travel produces programs and insights and advocates for policies to increase travel to and within the United States. Visit ustravel.org for information and recovery-related data.

Greg Staley
U.S. Travel Association

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