The chief executive of the US Travel Association says he hopes US and UK authorities are close to an agreement to give UK visitors the option to fast-track US border checks.

Discussions are ongoing to extend the Global Entry programme to allow frequent flyers from the UK to streamline their US entry process for a period of five years by providing biometric information and undergoing security checks in advance of travel.

“It is in the hands of the authorities, but I know that the UK is where the most dialogue is taking place,” said Roger Dow.

“If they can reach an agreement it would be a huge home run as we have so many UK visitors and there is still a lagging perception about the entry process which may be putting people off.” 

He added: “It is basically about information sharing and it is voluntary, so I can’t see any reason why anybody wouldn’t want to take the option if it is available that allows them to walk past the lines.”

Speaking at the International Pow Wow conference in Los Angeles, Dow also issued a warning to the UK government that it could shoot itself in the foot if it continued to raise air passenger duty.

“You have to be very careful in a tax policy that you don’t kill the thing you are trying to grow,” he said.

“The passenger often doesn’t know because the tax is hidden in the airfare, but eventually the price increases will become too much and they will opt to travel elsewhere or not at all.”