- Donald Rumsfeld has ‘no idea’ if he paid taxes correctly
- Bradley Manning named honorary grand marshal of San Francisco Pride parade
- Look out PayPal: Facebook working toward mobile payments system
- U.S. rebukes Iran’s U.N. envoy pick over 1979 embassy attack
- Stoned mom avoids jail after driving 12 miles with baby on roof
- More than 100 ‘inappropriate’ encounters between NYC school staffers, students since 2009: report
- Joe Biden to Boston bombing survivors: ‘America will never, ever stand down’
- FBI failed to throughly vet Boston bombing suspect after Russian lead, report finds
- Atlanta Braves flooded with Hank Aaron hate mail: He’s a ‘scumbag’
- University: Help, our campus is too white
Survey paints grim picture of U.S. tourism
Almost two-thirds of visitors to the United States are "frustrated" by long lines and inefficient customs and entry procedures at the nation's airports, and nearly half will tell others to avoid travel to the U.S. as a result, according to a new survey released Tuesday.
Sixty-four percent of those questioned agreed with the statement "I am frustrated by the long lines and wait times during the Immigration and Customs process," found the survey, conducted by Consensus Research and commissioned and released by the U.S. Travel Association, an industry group that represents the tourist trade.
Forty-three percent said they would recommend that others avoid visiting the United States because of the lengthy and inefficient entry procedures they had experienced, and travelers on average tell eight other people about their experiences, the survey found.
"Too many visitors to our country ... report that they have experienced a Customs process that they believe is inconsistent, confusing or embarrassing," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association in a statement.
The association estimates that up to 10 million visitors annually do not return as a result of their own experiences, or do not visit at all as a result of hearing about others' experiences.
That translates into $95 billion in lost business revenue from hotels, shops and restaurants and 518,900 American jobs at risk, the association claims.
"We are failing to address a galling entry experience that is driving 43 percent of our guests to tell others to avoid travel to our country," said Mr. Dow, predicting that matters will worsen as the impact of the across-the-board automatic federal government spending cuts that kicked in this month is felt.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said recently that the cuts, known as the sequester, likely would lead to furloughs and overtime bans in U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the agency which staffs customs and immigration checkpoints. These moves would lengthen processing and wait times for foreign visitors, which already run as high as two or three hours in some U.S. airports, the association said.
The association recommends hiring an additional 1,000 CBP officers and setting a target standard of 30 minutes wait time, which it says would cost approximately $150 million.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Shaun Waterman is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Times, covering foreign affairs, defense and cybersecurity. He was a senior editor and correspondent for United Press International for nearly a decade, and has covered the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became ...
- Senator's memo shows Iran links in Homeland Security's troubled immigration program
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- Dems back bill to fix problems in investor visa program
- Democrats proceed with Mayorkas vote despite pending investigation
- Game players don't think peace has a chance in Syria
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By returning to goodness, the nation can achieve greatness once again
- Fuel-filled wings, ability to swarm: Pentagon offers glimpse at future of drone fleet
- Secret U.S. assessments show Afghanistan not ready to govern on own
- U.S. military on high alert as Ukraine troops trade gunfire with pro-Russian militants
- Nevada Bundy ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid reputation
- Russian fighter jet buzzes U.S. Navy destroyer in Black Sea
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- Al Qaeda mocks U.S. in 'extraordinary' Yemen gathering; experts fear C.I.A. caught flat-footed
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Wal-Mart forced to apologize for 'mistake' favoring English-speaking shoppers
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Chaos as Manhattan building explodes