The World Travel Market

November 08, 2006 06:21 ET

World Travel Market: Security Versus Tourists

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 8, 2006) - A WEDGE is being hammered between security and tourists. It could drive them away in droves.

The welcome mat is temporarily withdrawn and replaced with Keep Out signs.

That is a balancing act conflict which has been highlighted at World Travel Market by key industry figure Bill Talbert, President and CEO of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors' Bureau and chairman of Destination Marketing International.

He reckons the American image being seen around the world is a dangerous business!

"Security, visitor regulations, vetting has had a definite negative impact, " said Talbert.

"As well as we are doing , can you image how much better it could be? It is a bit of a political statement but I think the United States has almost projected an image that says

'You're not welcome to visit. We don't want tourists. Don't come. Go some place else.'

"This is really strange because visitors spend and support jobs. We position ourselves as the No.1 jobs creation industry and we are working with partners to
try to get the message to our government that we need to have a balance between security and welcoming people to the country.

"We are great people with great destinations.

"Our image is not very good around the world and for good reason, I think. Hopefully, we will slowly dig out of that. We are working hard to bring changes.

"We have case after case. Brazilian bankers, Argentine bankers who were turned around at the airport and sent back home. It is a strange process. I mean, bankers! That is like turning grandmothers away. It is costing us jobs and business.

"In Miami we view ourselves as the crossroads of the Americas and this is just not a good message. The number of days in Brazil to obtain a visa is something like 60.

"If you have to wait that long to come to America and the alternative is to hop on a plane and go over there and do your business, where are you going to go?

"That is hurting us."

-ends-

For further information on the above, key concepts and themes during World Travel Market, exhibitor activity and events, please refer to www.wtmlondon.com or contact the World Travel Market Press Office on +44 (0)1580 201178.

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    +44 (0)1580 201178