Study: Overseas Travelers Avoiding Trips to the U.S.
Long lines and wait times at U.S. Customs and Border Protection outposts are deterring foreign travelers from visiting the United States, says a new study released by the U.S. Travel Association.
The United States is losing the popularity contest with overseas travelers.
Close to half of foreign visitors to the United States over the last five years said they would tell others to avoid a trip to the U.S. because of the difficult entry process, according to a new report released by the U.S. Travel Association and Consensus Research.
Forty-four percent of business travelers also said they would not visit the United States over the next five years because of the entry process.
The study, which surveyed 1,200 overseas travelers from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, China, and Brazil, estimates that at least 100 million overseas visitors are getting the message to avoid travel to the United States, which is costing the economy at least $95 million and 518,900 jobs.
“Too many visitors to our country—one in three—report that they have experienced a customs process that they believe is inconsistent, confusing, or embarrassing,” Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, said in a statement. “As the U.S. spends millions to recapture the world’s interest and inspire international travelers to visit, 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.”
Two-thirds of respondents said the United States would be a more appealing destination if customs lines and wait times were shorter. Some airports reported two- to three-hour wait times to clear Customs and Border Protection (CPB), U.S. Travel said.
“CBP officers are hardworking public servants who deserve the resources necessary to process millions of overseas travelers,” said Dow. “We are calling on Congress and the Obama administration to immediately provide the resources necessary to efficiently process our nation’s guests.”
In a step toward improving foreign travelers’ experience, President Obama issued an executive order early last year to improve the visa application process in several high-demand countries. A White House report released last fall found that, in line with the goals of the executive order, visa processing times were getting shorter and the process was more efficient in places such as Brazil and China.