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U.S. Travel Association Offers Checklist For Industry Improvement

The U.S. Travel Association’s Commission on Seamless and Secure Travel has identified key metrics for industry improvement after a research visit to major U.K. airports. 

Chaired by former acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan, the commission met with officials at London Heathrow Airport, Gatwick Airport, Edinburgh Airport, Virgin Atlantic, International Airlines Group and British Airways, as well as senior personnel from the U.S. Embassy in London to discuss key initiatives needed to improve U.S. airports. America’s travel infrastructure lags behind other nations and was recently ranked 17 out of 18 in a survey of global travel competitiveness by Euromonitor International. 

Key initiatives identified by the committee to improve U.S. travel rankings include lifting limitation levels on liquids and related items in carry-on bags; allowing passengers 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 in visa vetting, customs inspection and passenger screening; and reforming the U.S. visitor visa process to meet increasing demand for travel. 

“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,” said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “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.”

The Commission on Seamless and Secure Travel is expected to deliver a report on its findings  to U.S. lawmakers this fall.