Foreign Tourists Turn Away from U.S. Because of Long Customs Lines

Friday, March 22, 2013
Customs Line at Miami Airport (photo: NBC Miami)

The United States is missing out on billions of tourism-related dollars because of long customs lines that are discouraging foreign visitors from traveling to the country.


A study released by Consensus Research Group and the U.S. Travel Association says overseas travelers are avoiding the U.S. due to the “embarrassingly” lengthy and inefficient customs and entry procedures at American airports.


The research showed that at least 100 million foreign visitors are being swayed not to come to the U.S. through word-of-mouth from those who have endured the long waits.


Forty-three percent of travelers who have visited the United States told surveyors that they will recommend others avoid a trip to the U.S. because of the entry process, and one in seven travelers said they missed a connection because of long delays at Customs, causing them to cancel hotel reservations, car rentals and other activities.


“Too many visitors to our country–one in three–report that they have experienced a Customs process that they believe is inconsistent, confusing or embarrassing,” Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, said in a prepared statement. “As the U.S. spends millions to recapture the world’s interest and inspire international travelers to visit, we are failing to address a galling entry experience that is driving 43% of our guests to tell others to avoid travel to our country.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Traveler Survey (U.S. Travel Association)

Long Customs Lines Deterring International Travelers From U.S., Group Says (by Josh Hicks, Washington Post)


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