US travel leaders are concerned at a State Department proposal now out to consultation which would see visitors from non-visa waiver countries required to submit social media profiles and details of all travel in the last five years.
Roger Dow, president and chief executive of the US Travel Association, said: “It does not make sense. The bad guys are not going to tell you about their social media and the good guys will see it as an inconvenience and go someplace else. We are concerned.”
Speaking at the World Travel & Tourism Council global summit in Buenos Aires, he insisted: “We can have security and welcome people.”
Brand USA president and chief executive Chris Thompson said: “We are in a different world. Without security, there is no tourism. We have to assume decisions are being made in the interests of security, on the basis of intelligence.”
Dow has led moves to establish a new Visit US Coalition of 15 associations, including the hotels, retail, restaurants and gaming associations and the US Chamber of Commerce.
He said: “The drumbeat has to be louder. The economics are so compelling. It is not just travel jobs – we’re the front door of economic development.”
Thompson agreed: “There isn’t anything in economic development that does not start with a visit.”
Dow said: “We are pushing hard to grow trusted traveller programmes and the visa-waiver programme. We’re going to be vigilant on the bad guys and wide open to everyone else. We can do both.”
He added: “The [US] president’s goal is to achieve 3% growth in GDP. You can’t get 3% growth in GDP without tourism.”
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