US vows to be more welcoming to visitors

Started by Newshound, April 26, 2006, 19:49:26

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Newshound

THE US has vowed to be more welcoming to foreign visitors after its share of international travel has plummeted 35% since 1992 to an all-time low - costing the economy $286 billion a year in lost revenue.

Washington rolled out a clutch of top-level government officials at last week's World Travel and Tourism Council annual Global Travel and Tourism summit, a move WTTC chairman Vincent Wolfington said showed the US means business when it says it must do more to facilitate the free-flow of travel and salvage its image overseas.

US secretary of homeland security Michael Chertoff said: "The US recognises we will damage ourselves if we don't distinguish between our large number of friends and small number of enemies."

Cannery Row Company chief executive Ted Cannery said: "For years, the US has taken tourism for granted - it's time we woke up."

US officials were vociferous in their call for a more welcoming policy and a more competitive approach to tourism. Travel Industry Association of America chairman Roger Dow pointed out the US is one of the few countries in the world with no minister for tourism.

"We're sending out mixed messages of warning and welcome," he said.

US chamber of commerce president Thomas Donohue said the US must move quickly to get over its paranoia. "Where business travel goes, leisure and luxury travel follows. Because of US immigration laws, if the business community want to do business with the Arabs, you have to go to London."

Tim Zagat, chairman and chief executive of Zagat Survey, said it took the September 11, 2001 attacks to make retailers, museums and restaurateurs realise they were part of the tourism sector.

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Jay Rasulo said there is a need for a national tourism policy, coupled with a significant and sustainable marketing campaign. Tourism is one of the US's biggest industries but spending falls far behind the $60 million budget of Canada.


Jackiee

It would help if, on arrival in the US, the immigration people actually smiled at you instead of glowering.  This can make you feel very unwelcome as well as slightly intimidating.  

Opening a few more desks would also help.  On our last trip to New York there were only 4 out of approx 14 desks open.  They then closed one of these.  At least two huge plane loads of people had arrived at once.  Where's the logic in that?

Passengers who have been travelling for hours can do without both of the above.
Jackie

Keitht

quote:
Originally posted by Jackiee

It would help if, on arrival in the US, the immigration people actually smiled at you instead of glowering.  This can make you feel very unwelcome as well as slightly intimidating.  

Opening a few more desks would also help.  On our last trip to New York there were only 4 out of approx 14 desks open.  They then closed one of these.  At least two huge plane loads of people had arrived at once.  Where's the logic in that?

Passengers who have been travelling for hours can do without both of the above.



At least when we arrived in LA from Heathrow the security people were friendly and smiling.  They still only had 4 desks out of a dozen or more open though.

tonyg

Most folks enter the US from the Southwest, bypassing immigration completely. Maybe it was because of those sour faced officials.[;)]

Jackiee

It's not just the US mind you.  Our lot in the UK can give you the evil eye too.  The Spanish also leave a lot to be desired as well as many in the Caribbean.  Could it be the training they receive?  Hand picked because they're dour (pronounced dooor) as we would say in Scotland. [V]
Jackie

Boss Man

Just wait until you try Turkey. Damn those armed security staff look awfully p*ssed off.

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