Dow: Increased Airport Security Could Cause Decreased Global Travel

Although they're appropriate with the country's current air travel system, the Transportation Security Administration's newly announced security policies for international travelers to the United States could have a negative impact on the country's travel and tourism industries, and therefore on the larger American economy, U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow warned in a statement released yesterday.

"Recent events highlight the need for a detailed review of our current security apparatus and a comprehensive analysis of the most effective systems, techniques and technologies to secure the travel process," Dow said. "Anything less than the world's most secure and efficient travel process is unacceptable for our country and our nearly 60 million annual international visitors, more than 30 million of whom travel by air."

In order to tighten security without discouraging international air travel — international travelers spent more than $110 billion in 2008 and were responsible for nearly 1 million American jobs, according to the U.S. Travel Association — Dow urged Congress to send the Travel Promotion Act to the president for final passage. Passed by both the House and Senate last year, the act would establish the country's first official overseas tourism marketing campaign, which the country could use to promote travel to the United States among visitors who might otherwise be discouraged by confusing security policies and entry procedures.

"We call on Congress to immediately send the Travel Promotion Act to President Obama's desk and ensure that our increase in security is matched with an increase in our welcome," Dow said. "Unintentionally making the United States a less desirable place to visit for business, study or leisure will hinder our economic recovery and our public diplomacy efforts around the world."