You know you have a broken entry process when there’s an entire website devoted to complaining about the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) system—and that’s exactly what the U.S. Travel Association launched this month in an effort to voice the concerns of our unhappy visitors.
Included on the travelersvoice.org are spotlights from dozens of travelers—foreign and domestic—whose concerns range from long lines to missed connections. The most common gripes? Customs queues are understaffed, with too many checkout lanes closed during peak periods, and with no automated technology to ease the process, our methods appear utterly outdated.
The issues are serious. As we’ve reported, 84% of foreign travelers are complaining about the U.S. entry process, and as much as 43% are telling their friends that this is reason alone not to visit.
In an open plea, one business traveler from Europe tells the CBP, “Just invest, because obviously people are coming here. Travelers are investing in the economy, so invest in the staffing to make sure that people want to come back and keep investing in the economy.”
He's right, of course. Overseas travelers account for $95 billion in annual revenue here in the U.S., along with over half a million jobs.
The good news? The government seems to be listening. Just last month, the Senate passed a bill which provides for an additional 3,500 CBP offers and calls for reducing wait times by 50%.
Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.