• U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, center, and Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson (left) at the Wold Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit in Dallas, Texas April 6, 2016. WTTC / Flickr

    Commerce Secretary, Marriott CEO Call for More Data-Sharing to Enhance Security

    IMAGE: U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, center, and Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson (left) at the Wold Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit in Dallas, Texas April 6, 2016. WTTC / Flickr

    As originally published on Skift by Dan Peltier

    U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker called on partner governments to make greater efforts to share data, including passenger name records, to enhance security and bolster confidence among travelers.

    “Partner governments must significantly advance their willingness and capabilities to collect, use, and share information to screen travelers,” Pritzker said Wednesday at the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Global Summit in Dallas, Texas.

    Citing privacy concerns, many countries in Europe have been reluctant to share passenger name records, although a proposal to enhance such information is under consideration. After the recent terrorist bombings in Brussels, European governments’ lack of data-sharing has come under greater scrutiny.

    Prtizker pointed to the shortfalls of the lack of data-sharing among governments.

    “We must develop international systems to share data, including passenger name records, so that we can expedite processing of known and trusted travelers,” Pritzker said. “We also need to ensure that our governments are taking advantage of systems already in place, such as checking documents against Interpol’s lost and stolen passport records. These changes are important not only to the visa waiver program but also to making legitimate travel as smooth and efficient as possible across all nations.”

    During Pritzker’s tenure at the Commerce Department, which began in 2013, 17 U.S. airports implemented kiosks and mobile technology to expedite the international arrivals process. She also helped expand the visa waiver program to its current 38 member countries and lobbied to lower visa wait times for countries, including Brazil and China, with citizens of the latter country now eligible for 10-year visas.

    Some 40 million more people globally visited another country in 2015 compared with 2009, including a significant increase in visitors to the U.S. Pritzker is worried a rollback of the visa waiver program would deter many international travelers from making U.S. trips.

    READ MORE AT SKIFT.

  • Is terrorism hurting travel? Tourism exec brings answer to exclusive Dallas summit

    IMAGE: Travelers at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. (Tom Fox/Staff Photographer)

    As originally published in the Dallas Morning News by Karen Robinson-Jacobs

    Terrorist attacks, even as they seem to come with mind-numbing regularity, do not reduce global tourism over the long term.

    That point, made by the top executive with a global tourism group, will be reinforced this week when the heads of some of the nation’s largest travel and tourism companies and agencies gather in Dallas for a two-day think-fest.

    That conclusion is important for North Texas, which is increasingly marketing itself as a global destination.That point, made by the top executive with a global tourism group, will be reinforced this week when the heads of some of the nation’s largest travel and tourism companies and agencies gather in Dallas for a two-day think-fest.

    The invitation-only Global Summit of the World Travel & Tourism Council, set for Wednesday and Thursday, is expected to bring together key leaders in the tourism industry including Bill Marriott, executive chairman of Marriott International, and Barry Diller, chairman and senior executive of IAC/InterActiveCorp and Expedia Inc.

    The group of about 700 also will hear from at least eight tourism ministers from countries including Mexico and Zimbabwe.

    In advance of the annual summit, returning to the U.S. for first time since 2011, the head of the council spoke this week with The Dallas Morning News about the buoyancy of the global traveler and the implications of terrorist hits for the $2.23 trillion travel and tourism industry.

    “The European and the American travel are far more resilient than perhaps they were 15 or 20 years ago,” said David Scowsill, the global council’s president and chief executive. “They’re not going to let people get in the way of their planned vacations.”

    Similar to Europeans planning a vacation “you will find the American travelers will probably be switching away from the cities and the countries that have had this terrorist attack problem in the past 12 months and will be visiting other places. They’ll go to Spain, they’ll go to Portugal. They’ll go to Italy,” he said.

    “There’s nothing we’re hearing that there’s a large amount of cancellations or people overreacting in that sense, but clearly there will be some switching of destinations to places that the consumer thinks is more trusted or more secure.”

    READ MORE AT DALLASNEWS.COM

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