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November 26, 2006

Survey finds international travelers put off by U.S. immigration practices

Expo Magazine;

“International travelers rate America's entry process as the “world's worst” by more than a 2:1 margin, according to a survey sponsored by the Discover America Partnership and conducted by research company RT Strategies. “These survey results help to explain the 17 percent decline in overseas travel to the United States over the past five years and the 10 percent decline in business travel to the United States over the past year,” says Thomas Riehle, Partner, RT Strategies.

In addition, 54 percent of travelers from abroad report that American immigration officials were rude, and two-thirds of travelers surveyed fear they'll be detained at the border because of a simple mistake or misstatement.

“Foreign travelers are in agreement: The U.S. entry process is unpredictable and unfriendly to foreign visitors. It's hurting America's image abroad and deterring many from visiting the United States,” says Riehle.

The Discover America Partnership is a coalition of hospitality executives, as well as representatives of business in America. Geoff Freeman, Executive Director of the partnership, says in focus groups conducted before the survey, participants told stories of doing business in other markets because of the excessive barriers to obtaining visas to go on buying trips in the United States. Others expressed fears that the slightest human error on an entry form would cause them to be interrogated or detained by customs officials.

“None of us are there at the airport. This survey has to do with perceptions,” says Freeman. “It doesn't matter if this isn't true if it's the perception.”…”.


Posted by VisaLawyer at November 26, 2006 08:10 AM


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