Last week, the Commission on Seamless and Secure Travel and leaders from U.S. Travel headed to London for an international field visit.

The London visit was a critical opportunity for the Commission to understand best practices and innovations driving international travel growth in the U.K., contemplate synergies between the U.S. and our biggest overseas inbound visiting country and discuss the important role of partnerships between government and the private sector in supporting that growth.

Not only did Commission members engage with Heathrow leadership to gain insights into technology advancements driving security and efficiency, they also contemplated cutting-edge technologies—like verification-gate efficiency, opportunities to utilize artificial intelligence and optimization of digital borders which can create a more seamless and secure travel experience.

Commission members also visited the U.S. Embassy in London, where discussions centered on a variety of topics supported by TSA, CBP, Commercial Service from Commerce and the Consul General. The Commission also met with representatives from Gatwick and Edinburgh airports, in addition to other international stakeholders in the travel arena.

Initial High-Level Takeaways from the Commission Include:

  1. Investing in Biometric Technology is Critical Across Government and The Private Sectors: There was consensus that identity verification technology is at the heart of seamless and secure travel. From customs inspection to passenger screening and visa vetting, biometric identity verification strengthens security, improves the passenger experience and—when done in partnerships—protects privacy.

  2. International Programs and Partnerships Maximize Security and Facilitation, Helping to Grow Travel: Partnerships with our strongest allies are vital to unlocking more seamless and secure travel. From increasing the limitations on liquids to scaling one-stop security and modernizing Preclearance—partnering on international initiatives can raise security standards while streamlining travel to and within the U.S.

  3. The Time is Now for Visitor Visa Reform: Visa processing capacity is insufficient to meet the demand for travel to the U.S. Increased staffing and temporary interview waivers can help, but long-term legislative reforms are needed for a more digital, data-driven and efficient visa process that can meet demand.

Work on the Commission’s report is ongoing, and this visit was a crystalizing moment that provided important direction as the Commission progresses toward a final report.

In This The Itinerary
U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the U.S. travel industry—a key contributor to America’s economic success. Our mission is to increase travel to and within the United States, and in doing... View Profile ›

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