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Improved Air Service Tops U.S. Travel Agenda

January 21, 2009 By: George Dooley


More efficient air travel security, less congestion and fewer delays are among the top 2009 legislative and policy goals for U.S. Travel (formerly the Travel Industry Association (TIA).  The new goals include encouraging more international travel to the U.S. and more sustainable travel. They were introduced by U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow, National Chair Caroline Beteta and Chairman Emeritus Jonathan Tisch.

To insure more effective, efficient air travel security, U.S. Travel seeks the following initiatives: secure funding to develop enhanced passenger screening technology to improve efficiency at the Transportation Security Administration check points; new procedures to streamline passenger screening; an expansion of the “Model Ports” program at U.S. international airports, including launch of a Loaned Executive Program to improve customer service and staffing allocation; new funding for technologies and staff (Customs and Border Protection) at U.S. air and land ports of entry; monitored implementation of land/sea travel requirements for the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, or WHTI, to ensure the flow of cross-border travel into the U.S.; and funding for ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) to develop technology necessary to verify passenger compliance and to smooth Visa Waiver Program (VWP) traveler entry.

To produce less congestion and fewer delays, the association will act to support timely passage of FAA reauthorization and funding for modernization of the Air Traffic Control system, increase financial investment in surface transportation programs, and encourage the development of high-speed rail corridors.

To achieve more international travel to the U.S., U.S. Travel recommends the following initiatives: passing the Travel Promotion Act to better communicate U.S. security policies to international visitors and promote international travel to the country; funding for Survey of International Air Travelers to improve data collection on international travelers to allow U.S states and cities to attract more international visitors; expansion of the VWP to key markets and promote additional resources to enhance program management and oversight; expansion of enrollment in the U.S. international registered travel program, Global Entry, to foreign travelers; increase in State Department staffing to reduce U.S. visa interview wait times to less than 30 days; and eliminate the Foreign Media “I” visa requirement for VWP journalists to promote expanded foreign media coverage of the U.S. as an international travel destination.

U.S Travel also supports funding for the National Park System and other public lands to preserve natural/historic sites and wishes to educate policy makers and the public on efforts the travel community is undertaking to promote eco-friendly travel— such as encouraging voluntary carbon offset programs to promote sustainable travel options.

Visit www.tia.org.


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