Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, responds to today’s announcement from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security regarding security enhancements to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP):
“A secure travel system is foundational for all visitors. Without security, there is no travel. The security reforms to the VWP announced today offer a sensible approach to evolving this highly valuable program, which continues to be the gold standard for travel security and facilitation.
“Every program should be constantly assessed and tweaked to ensure it performs as designed to stop threats. We are grateful to the administration for recognizing it as a robust national security program and its role in welcoming millions of business and leisure visitors here annually.
“We are supportive of these sensible reforms and will continue to work with the administration to strengthen security and expand the program while sending a message that welcomes international travelers to America.
“There are significant economic benefits to securely welcoming international travelers to the United States. In 2016, international travel exports totaled $246 billion, which directly supported approximately 1.2 million American jobs—in fact, the travel industry overall supports one in nine U.S. jobs, employing Americans in every state and every congressional district. Because international dollars spent on U.S. soil are exports, inbound travel is our No. 1 service export, and our No. 2 export overall.”
U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry. Travelers in the United States are estimated to spend $1.1 trillion in 2022 (still 10% below 2019 levels). U.S. Travel advocates for policies to accelerate an even recovery across the travel industry and restore economic and job growth for this essential contributor to our nation’s success. Visit ustravel.org for information and recovery-related data.