The Department of Homeland Security earned praise from the U.S. Travel Association for launching its first international partnership to allow previously screened and known, frequent visitors to be expedited through the U.S. entry process as a part of its "Global Entry" program. U.S. Travel said the announcement of a partnership between the governments of the United States and the Netherlands also provides reciprocal expedited entry for U.S. travelers visiting the Netherlands.
"The Global Entry program is a win-win for travelers and America's security," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "The United States continues to welcome fewer overseas visitors than we did prior to September 11, 2001. Common-sense programs like Global Entry make America a more attractive destination by streamlining our entry process, and will help our country strengthen its economy, security and image in the world."
The U.S. Travel Association has long championed the need for an international registered traveler program and was instrumental in gaining support from Congress and the executive branch. U.S. Travel is advocating for several critical enhancements to the Global Entry program, including:
* Expansion of the program to include prominent travel partners such as Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and Australia; and
* Availability of the program at all of America's Top 20 international airports (currently only available at seven);
* Increasing participation by making program enrollment more convenient and accessible; and allowing for cross-enrollment in all other Homeland Security Department regulated domestic trusted traveler programs.
The U.S. Government, namely the Departments of Homeland Security and State, has made strides in recent years in improving the U.S. visa and entry experience, U.S. Travel said. In addition to these operational improvements, it is critical that America better explain its security policies and send a more welcoming message to international travelers. U.S. Travel strongly supports passage of the soon-to-be-reintroduced Travel Promotion Act to highlight our nation's improved entry process and enable the United States to welcome millions of additional visitors.