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Education resource for the group travel supplier

 


During the past four and a half years, the motorcoach industry has been well-served by the leadership of retiring Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. He and his team have made substantial progress in making our industry safer while promoting conditions that allow safe companies to grow and expand.

Business travel becomes social and personal again as BTSocial launches its Travel App, aimed at connecting business travelers around the world. President Tim Hines and CTO Karl Jackson realized that, based on their experiences, business travel life had become disconnected and isolated. The new Travel App allows business travelers to share travel locations to meet like-minded travelers while on the road.

Across-the-board sequestration cuts for an array of federal government functions are beginning to take a toll on travel to and within the United States. And that means trouble for tourism, an NTA leader warns.

“NTA is very concerned that cutbacks in funding will have negative impacts on visitation, jobs, the U.S. economy and the balance of trade,” said Lisa Simon, president of NTA. “Tourism is an investment that produces jobs and revenue that support the rest of the U.S. economy, and these cuts can cause serious ripple effects.” 

Simon added that the sequester cuts come at a bad time. In a recent survey, NTA members reported a rebound in 2012 business following a prolonged economic slowdown, and the majority of all members projected an even brighter 2013—tour operators (59 percent), suppliers (70 percent), and DMOs (74 percent).

Sequestration took effect on March 1, but the full impact of federal reductions in personnel hours and operating budgets continues to mount. NTA is most closely following cuts in five areas that directly impact tourism:

  • FAA air traffic controllers: Furloughs began yesterday and flight delays started today
  • Transportation Security Administration personnel
  • Customs and Border Protection officers at airports and border crossings
  • Consulate offices overseas, which process visas and conduct interviews
  • Federal parks and public lands, where staffing reductions will limit or delay access 


Simon said NTA is also watching for increased fees at U.S. national parks, diverted operational funds for parks and public lands, and changes to funding for marketing the United States as an international destination.

“NTA will keep a close eye on how these issues impact the travel economy and our members’ livelihoods, and we will work with other travel organizations to inform Congress and the Obama administration about the significant, adverse effects of sequestration,” said Simon. “The travel sector must increase its efforts to help public policy makers understand the threat of reduced funding.”

Source: NTA

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, working collaboratively with the travel industry and other government agencies, announced the results of its latest customer satisfaction survey.  The survey of more than twenty-five thousand travelers, conducted between July and August 2012, at twenty airports, indicated that travelers had an overwhelmingly positive response regarding CBP’s entry process.  

Click here to download the Executive Summary

“CBP has taken a proactive approach to ensure a welcoming environment for travelers, and promote travel and tourism while maintaining the highest levels of security and professionalism,” said CBP Acting Commissioner Thomas S. Winkowski. “We will continue to work closely with airline carriers, airport authorities and the travel industry to identify and implement additional solutions and efficiencies to continue to improve the traveler experience.”

As the primary agency charged with safeguarding our nation’s borders, CBP continues to ensure the smooth facilitation of close to one million travelers who arrive at ports of entry each day:  

  • More than 80 percent of travelers agreed that the entry process made them feel welcome to the United States.  
  • More than 90 percent of travelers responded that CBP officers were welcoming, professional, helpful, efficient, and communicative. 
  • More than 80 percent of travelers agreed that waiting areas that are welcoming with clear, easy-to-follow layout and signage.
  • More than 85 percent of travelers felt that the entry process time was either short or reasonable. 

Advances in technology in the passenger processing environment, such as automation of the Form I-94, and increased participation in trusted traveler programs, such as Global Entry, help to make entry into the U.S. faster and more efficient for travelers. 

CBP has experienced tremendous results with its Global Entry program, which allows expedited processing through the use of automated kiosks for pre-approved, low-risk travelers. Through innovative partnerships with the travel industry, airlines, airport authorities, and foreign governments, CBP has grown the program to include more than 1.48 million travelers with Global Entry benefits and the kiosks have more than 4.3 million uses.

Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Public Affairs

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