Hassles, inefficiencies, and delays during all points of travel collectively have a price tag, says the US Travel Association (USTA). According to a survey (with partner Ipsos) from the association, these issues through Customs, visa delays, and airport screening caused travelers to take, on average, two fewer trips with an estimated hit of $71 billion to the US economy—and that’s after a robust summer travel season.
Travelers even compared travel to an agency that most of us associate with headaches: the DMV.
“When nearly 60 percent of recent air travelers find the experience the equivalent or worse than going to the DMV, it is a concerning signal that demands action,” said USTA President & CEO Geoff Freeman. “With greater focus, it is well within the federal government’s ability to make improvements across the travel ecosystem.”
According to the survey, half of air travelers said they would travel more in the next six months if the experience were less of a hassle, while business travelers would take an average of two more trips per year if travel frictions improved, resulting in 18 million additional trips and $52 billion in economic impact.
“The security screening experience travelers encounter today is effectively the same as it was 21 years ago when the TSA was established,” said Freeman. “While air travel is safer than ever, the process for most air travelers has not evolved. Screening processes and technologies in the United States are falling behind those in other nations. It’s time to lead the way.”
Further, Freeman urged officials to look toward measures that other nations have successfully implemented, such as steps taken by Spain and the U.K. to end the liquid ban in carry-on luggage, thanks to advanced security technology. He also noted that the majority of recent air travelers (two-thirds, according to their survey) would be comfortable with the implementation of biometric technology, which could lead to greater efficiency.
The poll is available here: Q3 2023 Ipsos survey.
Visit ustravel.org for more information.