World Travel & Tourism Council Urges U.S. To Ease Security Burdens
Going through U.S. customs can take more than an
hour. And although the Department of Homeland Security is working on
technology to speed up the time visitors spend going through customs
and immigration screening, they still have a long way to go.
Thatís why the World Travel and Tourism Council, at
the sixth-annual global summit in Washington, has called on the U.S.
government to make crossing its borders easier for tourists and
During informal panel discussions, executives
representing major travel-related companies said many travelers to
the U.S. worry whether they will be greeted with a welcome or a
warning. The international group, meeting for the first time in the
U.S., said the government should do more to improve the travel
The U.S. is now the world leader in travel sales, but
its share of the world market has been shrinking since the early
1990s amid fast-growing economies in China, India and Eastern
Europe, as well as a downturn following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Hotels, cruise lines, and tourist officials in the Caribbean,
Mexico, and Canada are stepping up publicity efforts to make sure
American patrons know that many of them will need passports when
returning from those destinations in 2007. Only 27% of U.S. citizens
have valid passports, according to the State Department.