Thursday, June 20, 2024

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The United States is poised for significant advances in travel safety and convenience. These developments, currently underway through the efforts of the Commission on Seamless and Secure Travel and the US Travel Association, are expected to boost the country’s competitiveness in attracting global tourists and reversing a slow recovery compared to other nations.

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

During a recent visit to the UK, the Seamless and Secure Travel Commission, led by Kevin McAleenan, former acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, collaborated with UK airport, airline and US government officials to discuss travel modernization efforts. Commission representatives held meetings with key figures from senior staff at London’s Heathrow Airport, Gatwick Airport, Edinburgh Airport, Virgin Atlantic, International Airlines Group, British Airways and the US Embassy in London.

Preparing for the Future: US Partnerships Drive Next-Level Travel Innovations

U.S. Building strong partnerships with the UK and other partner nations to drive major advances in travel security and facilitation. Commission members highlight several key initiatives requiring federal government action, including:

  1. Removal of restrictions on liquids and related items in carry-on bags.
  2. Expansion of the One-Stop Security Program to enable passengers and their baggage from select international airports to bypass unnecessary screening upon arrival in the US for connecting flights.
  3. Upgrading preclearance at designated foreign airports to screen travelers prior to their arrival in the US
  4. Biometrics are used to strengthen security, enhance the passenger experience, and protect privacy—from visa checks to customs checks and passenger screening.
  5. The US is overhauling the visitor visa process to meet the growing demand for travel to the United States.

Each of these measures is designed to enhance security and streamline travel processes.

A recent Euromonitor International survey ranked the United States 17th out of 18 major countries in terms of global travel competitiveness. In response, a commission was established to explore ways the country could better compete for global tourists. It aims to develop a vision and propose policies to modernize the travel experience, enhance US competitiveness and accelerate growth.

“As the commission’s critical work nears the mid-way point, security-based solutions that will give the U.S. a roadmap for best-in-class traveler security practices and increase our share of inbound travel are coming into clearer focus,” Freeman said.

The Commission on Seamless and Secure Travel’s next report is expected to be presented to lawmakers and officials in Washington this fall.

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