Disney helps US border officials with public image – 26 Apr 2007

US border officials have been taking tips from Disney on how to welcome visitors.

The move comes as the US’s Department of Homeland Security announced throrough fingerprinting on tourists at Pow Wow. A pilot scheme this autumn will digitally scan all 10 fingerprints of tourists on arrival in 10 US airports.

It follows plans for a new tax on inbound travellers to overhaul the visa system and improve immigration facilities to make the country more welcoming.

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman James Rasulo the theme park was offering advice on managing queues and tips on being friendly.

“We are in the business of dealing with big queues and we’re working on dispelling the notion that friendliness doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of security,” he said.

The work is being co-ordinated through the Discover America Partnership to address concerns that checks are putting visitors off travelling to the US.

Transport Industry Association president and chief executive Roger Dow said the industry must halt the US’s slide in market share of international tourism, down from 7.5% in 200 to 6.1% last year, partially blamed on extra security since the September 11 attacks.

Hilton Hotels Corporation president and chief operating officer Matthew Hart agreed that slow security clearance was a deterrent to foreign visitors as well as the perceived surliness of some border officials.

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