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Travel Group Offers Plan for Recovery

The U.S. Travel Association has laid out a five-point plan to help rejuvenate the travel industry in the wake of the global pandemic.

In his “state of the travel industry” address, U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said that modernizing infrastructure and seizing “on the opportunity to reimagine a stronger, more innovative air travel system” would be key to recovery.

Dow pointed to biometric identification; touchless systems; extending the deadline for Real ID; developing alternative screening procedures for those without Real IDs; and consolidating international travel programs such as TSA Pre-Check, Global Entry, Sentry and Nexus into a single program as the way forward.

“Biometric identification provides faster facilitation, greater accuracy and a more secure travel environment. These touchless systems – which are important these days – also creates a more convenient, hygienic user experience; an important factor in dealing with this public health crisis,” Dow said.

He called for the Real ID act to be expanded and the October 2021 deadline to be pushed back. “According to the Department of Homeland Security, only 38 percent of Americans are Real ID compliant.  Given the low compliance rate and the complications of the pandemic, many Americans could be turned away at security points in our airports unless the deadline is reasonably pushed.

“TSA Pre-Check, Global Entry, Sentry and Nexus should all be consolidated into one program,” Dow said.  “Global Entry and Pre-Clearance locations should be expanded to the visa waiver program countries, and the U.S. should expedite visas for low-risk applicants and automate non-immigrant travel visas.”