U.S. Travel established the Commission on Seamless and Secure Travel to build a vision and recommend policies to increase U.S. competitiveness, improve government focus and coordination on travel issues and facilitate growth.

The United States is trailing behind global competitors in the race to grow and modernize travel.

  • The U.S. ranks nearly dead last out of 18 top countries for global travel in terms of competitiveness, according to a study commissioned by U.S. Travel and conducted by Euromonitor International. 
  • Other countries are outpacing the U.S. by taking bold, decisive steps to modernize their travel economies and welcome international visitors. 
  • While the U.S. reached only 84% of 2019 visitation levels in 2023, competitors have returned or sit closer to pre-pandemic visitation levels and continue to gain ground on the U.S. in global travel market share.

Self-imposed barriers including a lack of focused federal leadership, excessive visa wait times and outdated security screening practices have a steep economic cost.

  • The U.S. could lose 39 million visitors and $150 billion in spending over the next 10 years if there is no reduction in visa wait times.
  • Each time a new daily international flight to one airport cannot be accommodated due to Customs staffing shortages, the U.S. economy loses $227 million per year.
  • The unevolved, inefficient airport security screening process could deter American travelers from an estimated three million trips this year, resulting in total spending losses of $7.4 billion.

The Commission on Seamless and Secure Travel is chaired by former Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan and comprised of former federal officials and private sector experts.

The commission plans to release its recommendations in autumn 2024. 


Research, News and Commentary on Global Competitiveness