Guess this is a glass half-full versus the glass half-empty point of view. International travel in 2008 (until September) to the US was running ahead of the 2007 rates. But since these figures, the international economic collapse has blossomed. Worse, our incoming travel figures are still running behind 2001 pre-9/11.
No matter how we attempt to sugar-coat the international tourism traffic to the US, the simple fact of the matter is that the US seems to be doing its best to make our country a difficult place to visit. Overall, since 9/11 the government has succeeded in making entry to the US unpleasant.
Friends of mine who run tourism organizations and multinational companies in Europe have declared that they do not plan to return until the customs procedures stop treating them like criminals. Until that time, underlings are sent to do their bidding in the US.
Striking a balance between treating incoming citizens of other countries like de facto terrorists and treating them as welcome guests in our country should be one of the top travel and tourism resolutions of the new administration.
There has got to be a better way.