News

US still "plagued" by customs delays

Long wait times at airports remains an issue for international visitors to the US as tourism leaders once again pleaded with the Government to employ more border protection staff to ease the congestion.

Roger Dow, president of the US Travel Association, admitted it remains a “problem” for the industry and one that must be addressed.

The US is still “plagued with long wait times” particularly during peak hours, he told media at IPW in Las Vegas.

“US protection officers are doing a phenomenal job but the bottom line is there are simply not enough of them,” Dow said.

A survey in six markets showed that two thirds of those quizzed said they would be more interested in travelling to the US if wait times were shorter. A further 84% said they believe the problem could be fixed by the Government.

“And it is fixable,” Dow said. “It’s fixable with more people. It’s very simple.”

But on a brighter note, he said there was “help on the way”.

The department of homeland security has a budget in 2014 for an additional 1400 customs and border protection staff while an immigration bill is calling for a further 3500 offices.

Dow said it was important to “shine a light” on the issue and “turn the heat up”.

“We need to get the dialogue so the Government can understand that this is so critical,” he said.

A tongue in cheek “survival kit” was sent to US media to raise the profile of the issue which included a copy of Tolstoy’s War and Peace and an energy drink.

“It is a problem, the President knows it and we need to get congress to act on this to give us the offices that we need so people can move through the customs area much more rapidly,” Dow said.

If that fails to happen, travellers will eventually start turning their backs on the US, he added.

On the issue of visas, Dow said significant progress has been made in markets such as Brazil where “horrific” wait times for visas have been slashed from up to 150 days to just two or three days.

Additionally progress is being made on expanding the number of visa waiver countries with Chile nominated as a prospective addition.

Dow said 11 other markets have been identified for the visa waiver program including Brazil, Argentina, Poland and Israel.

The year after South Korea was added to the program, arrivals soared 49%, he said.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Comments are closed.

Aviation

WATCH: the airling seat punches that sparked massive online debate

A disgruntled passenger has sparked intense online debate after he repeatedly punched the back of a woman’s chair because she reclined her seat.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Helloworld to purchase Excite Holidays’ booking platform, as former staff resurface

by Huntley Mitchell

Look! It’s not one, but two important updates regarding failed wholesaler Excite Holidays, accentuated by a generic iStock image.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Agent Wrap: AFTA announces roadshow, Silversea’s massive incentive, Visit USA kicks off expos + MORE!

by Mekal Mishra

Incentives and expos and famils, oh my! Get the latest update on all the fab perks your agent mates have enjoyed this week, and get in on a few of them yourself, with this week’s Agent Wrap.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

The mysterious case of Bill Gates and the $747 million hydrogen-powered superyacht

by Christian Fleetwood

It’s a case that seemingly fooled the press, but did the world’s second-richest man really buy ‘Aqua’? Travel Weekly investigates this not so major mystery.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Boeing fires mid-level exec following “totally appalling” emails

by Christian Fleetwood

Adding to a grim January for the manufacturer comes the news that Boeing booked no new orders for the month for the first time in nearly 60 years.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Jetstar warns of flight cancellations ahead of strikes next week

by Ali Coulton

Meanwhile, Travel Weekly staff are going on strike to protest a significant drop in the number of Tim Tams on offer in the office kitchen.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Flavour of the Week: Ryanair marketing boss quits, GM revealed for new Melbourne hotel + MORE!

This edition of Flavour of the Week is a bit like an airport, in that there are both arrivals and departures (and thankfully no cases of coronavirus).

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

China travel ban extended amid coronavirus spike as quarantined cruise offered free porn

by Ali Coulton

Passengers on board Diamond Princess are getting crafty in their exile, while an adult entertainment company is offering the less imaginative an alternative.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Industry celebrates Valentine’s Day: Sky-high proposals, a dating app for endangered birds and the chance to win $1,600

The industry has once again been struck by Cupid’s bow, with these companies indulging in some romantic festivities. However, that’s not to say they’ve joined the mile-high club.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Trailblazing women inspire Lonely Planet’s new travel guide

by Mekal Mishra

Some of the women featured in the new guide include Michelle Obama, Nancy Bird Walton, Cathy Freeman, and Greta Thunberg.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Aloha Friday Wrap: HTO’s new guide, Hawaiian Airlines gets romantic, #islandsofaloha comp + MORE!

Keen to become an expert on all things Hawaii but don’t have the time nor money to get over there? Let this handy wrap be your saviour.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Hawaiian Airlines spreads the love this Valentine’s Day

To share the love this Valentine’s Day, Hawaiian Airlines has announced a ‘Romance Sale’ with fares on sale until 18 February.

Share

CommentComments