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It's not the $10 fee that's the problem - Input Junkie
March 12th, 2010
04:39 pm

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It's not the $10 fee that's the problem
The War on Tourism strikes Cheryl Morgan (stranded in London). [1]

The Travel Promotion Act
The United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation today approved S. 1023, the "Travel Promotion Act of 2009." The bipartisan legislation, led by Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and John Ensign (R-NV) creates a public-private partnership with a budget of up to $200 million annually to attract international travelers to the United States by better communicating America's security policies and competing for visitors. According to an analysis by Oxford Economics, the program could drive $4 billion annually in new spending by international travelers to the United States.


The US travel industry is in trouble.....

* International travel to the U.S. declined by 10 percent in the first quarter of 2009 according to the U.S. Department of Commerce

* Despite a weak dollar that made the U.S. a travel bargain and 48 million more people around the world traveling "long haul," the United States welcomed 633,000 fewer overseas visitors in 2008 than in 2000 - remaining below pre-9/11 levels of overseas visitors for the seventh consecutive year.

* Had the U.S. kept pace over the last eight years with the average growth in global overseas travel, we would have received an additional 58 million visitors, $182 billion in new visitor spending and $27 billion in new tax receipts. In 2008 alone, overseas travel would have created 245,000 jobs.

* A U.S. Travel Association analysis of government data reveals that the travel industry will lose nearly 450,000 jobs between 2008 and 2009.

I heard a softball interview about this on NPR last week. The person speaking for the bill was so pleased it would be paid for by a $10 fee levied on some travelers to the US, and matching funds from the airline industry-- you see, it doesn't count because it isn't taxpayer money.

Mostly, though, there was no clue that US security policies can't be made more palatable by explaining them.

First link thanks to james_nicoll.

[1l Cheryl's current situation: I now have somewhere to stay for the next week, which is a big relief. I can now start looking at a more long-term solution.

Also please note that I don’t need money. Or rather, I need money in much larger quantities than you kind folks could possibly supply, so I’m now asking for anything other than suggestions as to where I can rent crash space.

(11 comments | Leave a comment)

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[User Picture]
From:holzman
Date:March 12th, 2010 10:05 pm (UTC)
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by better communicating America's security policies

By speaking louder and slower, no doubt.
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From:dcseain
Date:March 12th, 2010 10:19 pm (UTC)
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Having recently worked for US CBP, in the position of explaining admissibility to the US and to Canada, e.g. explaining how the rules work for a Netherlands citizen who is a permanent resident in Canada to enter the US clearly, answering all questions, and referring them to the appropriate website to apply for entry was much more useful than speaking louder and slower. :)

The rules have become quite byzantine and hard to understand. Which is why there are multiple groups in CBP that exist to help people with the problem of how to enter the US. Of course, that presumes they find the email and/or phone number for assistance, or even can find out that they need to X to enter. Sigh. Stupid rules in some ways.
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From:nancylebov
Date:March 12th, 2010 10:27 pm (UTC)
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There isn't that much difference between incomprehensible rules and tyranny, except that it's easier to blame people for not following incomprehensible rules.

I assume that the system was set up by people who simply do not think about the effects of what they're doing. Or, to be fair, have inherited such a complex system that there's no way to think about the effects of what they're doing.

To put it another way, I don't think the decline in travel to the US is mostly a result of outrage at the Iraq war.
[User Picture]
From:dcseain
Date:March 12th, 2010 10:32 pm (UTC)
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I assume that the system was set up by people who simply do not think about the effects of what they're doing. Or, to be fair, have inherited such a complex system that there's no way to think about the effects of what they're doing.

A little of A a little of B, if more of the former, from my POV.

To put it another way, I don't think the decline in travel to the US is mostly a result of outrage at the Iraq war.

I agree.
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From:agrumer
Date:March 12th, 2010 11:11 pm (UTC)
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I assume that the system was set up by people who simply do not think about the effects of what they're doing.

My model for thinking about such things comes from an office I worked at a few years back, where I noticed that when there was some kind of Bad Stuff that needed to be dealt with (expenses, pay cuts, additional workload, etc) it would get shoved around from department to department until it wound up in whatever department had the least power to shove back.

In border-crossing, it's the immigrants and visitors who have the least power (except those with diplomatic passports, or lots of money, or powerful backers).
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From:whswhs
Date:March 12th, 2010 10:29 pm (UTC)
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Could I ask for a bit of clarification?

Is Morgan an American who is being prevented from coming home? That's what the reference to "stranded in London" sounds like it means; presumably someone native to the UK would have a residence in the UK. But some of the rest makes it sound as if Morgan is not an American citizen and that's the source of the problem. Could you explain the background for those of us to whom fannish personalities are not household names?
[User Picture]
From:nancylebov
Date:March 12th, 2010 10:33 pm (UTC)
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From Cheryl's "about" page...."Cheryl splits her time between Somerset in the UK and the San Francisco Bay Area, where she shares a home with Kevin Standlee."

I didn't know who she is, either.


Edited at 2010-03-12 10:39 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:redbird
Date:March 12th, 2010 11:28 pm (UTC)
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IIRC, she's an Australian citizen, but I could be misremembering.
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From:xiphias
Date:March 13th, 2010 01:14 am (UTC)
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Wait -- we're going to get people to come to the US by charging them an extra $10 to do so?
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From:nancylebov
Date:March 13th, 2010 01:40 am (UTC)
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Yeah, it's the American can-do attitude.
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From:sodyera
Date:March 13th, 2010 03:44 pm (UTC)
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When a stupid Law is put in place, that's when I start ignoring it, if not deliberately disobeying it to see if anyone notices. You'd be surprised how seldom I've been caught.
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