Tuesday, November 21, 2006

U.S. is most unfriendly country to visitors, survey says - Reuters

David Seaton's News Links
I have a Dutch friend who says very serious things in a flippant manner. He used to go to the states all the time, he hadn't been for a while, I asked him why. "The USA isn't fun anymore", he said. Think about it: in a way America invented "Fun"; not "pleasure", I think the French invented that, but "Fun". If the USA is no longer "Fun", that would be like France no longer being "chic"... You don't die of this, but something important would be lost, something the world looks to you to provide. This is a real zeitgeist piece. DS
Abstract: Rude immigration officials and visa delays keep millions of foreign visitors away from the United States, hurt the country's already battered image, and cost the U.S. billions of dollars in lost revenue, according to an advocacy group formed to push for a better system. To drive home the point, the Discover America Partnership released the result of a global survey on Monday which showed that international travelers see the United States as the world's worst country in terms of getting a visa and, once you have it, making your way past rude immigration officials. The survey, of 2,011 international travelers in 16 countries, was conducted by RT Strategies, a Virginia-based polling firm, for the Discover America Partnership, a group launched in September with multimillion-dollar backing from a range of companies that include the InterContinental Hotels Group, Anheuser Busch and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. The survey showed that the United States was ranked "the worst" in terms of visas and immigration procedures by twice the percentage of travelers as the next destination regarded as unfriendly -- the Middle East and the Asian subcontinent. More than half of the travelers surveyed said U.S. immigration officials were rude and two-thirds said they feared they would be detained on arriving in the United States for a simple mistake in their paperwork or for saying the wrong thing to an immigration official.(...) "Between 2000 and 2006, the number of overseas visitors, excluding those from Mexico and Canada, has declined by 17 percent," said Geoff Freeman, executive director of the Discover America Partnership, "and business travel in that period has dropped 10 percent." Travel Industry Association statistics show that the U.S. share in world tourism declined from 7.4 percent in 2000 to 6 percent last year. A one-percentage point increase, according to the association, would mean 7.5 million additional arrivals, $12.3 billion in additional spending, 150,000 additional U.S. jobs, $3.3 billion in additional payroll and $2.1. billion in additional taxes. READ IT ALL

No comments: