oversight

Foreign Visitor Facilitation

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-07-18.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                     United St&es General Accounting       OfIke
                     Testimony
GAO


For Release          Foreign     Visitor    Facilitation
on Delivery
Expected    at EDT
2:oo   p.m.
Wednesday
July   18, 1990




                      Statement        of
                      Allan     I. Mendelowitz,        Director
                      International          Trade,   Energy,     and Finance   Issues
                      National       Security      and International
                      Affairs       Division
                      Before  the
                      Foreign   Commerce and Tourism     Subcommittee            of
                      the Committee      on Commerce, Science
                      and Transportation
                      United  States     Senate




                        04%lll
 GAO/T-NSIAD-90-56
Mr. Chairman             and Members of the Subcommittee:


I am pleased             to be here             today      to discuss           with     you our preliminary
observations             on foreign             tourism          in the United           States.
Specifically,             we have been looking                         at the    issues       and conditions
that     affect        the      speed and ease with                     which    a foreign          visitor         can
gain     entry       to the United                States.             We also    have been reviewing
particular           conditions            at major            U.S.     international           gateway         airports.
In the       course       of our work,                we have identified                 several         factors         that
affect       visitor           facilitation,              including          obtaining        a visa,          the amount
of airport           congestion,               the    adequacy          of airport         facilities,             the
complexity           of the         federal          inspection1            process,       and the availability
of services             that      airports           provide          to foreign        visitors.             Further,          we
noted       that       the actions             and policies             of the three          entities          most
directly           involved         with       visitor          facilitation--airport                  authorities,
airlines,           and the         federal          inspection            services--have           a major         impact
on how efficiently                    foreign         visitors          may enter         the United           States,


BACKGROUND


A major         transformation                 is taking           place     in the       realm     of tourism:
Americans,             who have for              years         been the world's            tourists,           are now
becoming           the hosts          as well.            It     should      come as no surprise                   that     the

?The federal    inspection    services  include    the following     agencies:
the Immigration      and Naturalization    Service    (INS); the United States
Customs Service      (USCS); the Public Health Service         (PHS); and the
United States Department of Agriculture's            Animal and Plant Health
Inspection    Service    (APHIS).
                                                                  1
United       States     has become a major                 tourist            destination.               This      is a
country       of great         natural       beauty       and variety,                 offering         visitors         a
myriad       of attractions              in U.S.       cities        and national             parks        and
forests,       as well         as diverse        cultures            and geographic                regions.
There       has been tremendous               growth          in the number of foreign                          visitors2
to the United            States.          The Department               of Commerce's               U.S.      Travel          and
Tourism       Administration               (USTTA) reports                 that     since      1985,       the number
of foreign        visitors          to the United               States        has grown 49 percent.
Approximately            38 million          foreign        visitors              came to the United                 States
during       1989,      according         to USTTA, and it                   forecasts         that       by the year
2000,       the number of foreign                  visitors          will         increase        by 75 percent               of
the     1989 figure.


Several       factors        have contributed                 to the growth               of foreign            tourism
in the United            States,         such as


--    the    strength        of foreign         currencies                against       the dollar,             making
      the United         States      a "better          buy"        for      foreign        tourists:


--    the    increasing          affluence         of many countries                     in East Asia              and
      Western        Europe,       which     has permitted                  citizens         of those        countries
      the    luxury      of foreign          travel:          and




2Foreign visitors   are non-U.S. citizens                                     who come to the United
States for a temporary   time period for                                    the purpose of business                       and
tourism  or for other reasons.
                                                           2
--   the opening             of borders              and lifting              of travel           restrictions             in
     the      former       Eastern            Bloc    countries,              which       has allowed            their
     citizens           greater         freedom         to travel.


Foreign        tourism         provides            many economic                benefits          to the United
States.          According             to USTTA, foreign                     visitors        generated           revenues              of
approximately               $43 billion              in 1989 -- more than                      the U.S.'          leading
exports,         including             agricultural                 goods      ($37 billion);             chemicals              ($32
billion);          and motor            vehicles/parts                   ($25 billion).                 USTTA also
reported         that       in 1989,             foreign        travelers          to the United             States
directly         supported             an estimated                 570,000       U.S.      jobs      and generated
over        $4 billion         in federal,                 state,       and local           tax     revenues.


How foreign              visitors          are greeted               and received             at airports            is
important,          because            this       is their           first      impression            of the United
States.          Many American                   tourists           return      from travels             in Europe with
tales        of airport             facilities             and services            for      foreign       tourists              that
may be lacking                at our own international                            airports,           such as speedy
transit         through        Immigration                 and Customs;            convenient            translation
services:          free      maps and informational                            guides:        readily       available
assistance          in locating                  lodging        and making              reservations:            and
efficient,          inexpensive                  ground       transportation.                     Conversely,            there
have been reports                    of foreign              tourists          being       "greetedI*       in the United
 States        by long,           slow-moving               lines       at Immigration              and Customs;
 lengthy        waits       for      baggage;          unavailable              translation             services;
problems          in getting             ground        transportation;                   and scams by taxi

                                                                    3
drivers        charging          exorbitant            fares.         To the extent               that     these
reports        are true,           they     make the United                States          a less        attractive
tourist        destination.


At your        request,          we looked           into       the difficulties                foreign           tourists
face       in general,           and specific               conditions           found      at the        largest         U.S.
international                gateway       airports,            in particular.                To accomplish               this
task,       we met with            officials           representing              various        organizations
concerned            with     visitor        facilitation,              and reviewed              conditions            at 13
of the        largest         U.S.       international              airports.             (See app.         I.)


I would            now like       to discuss           the      circumstances              foreign        visitors
must deal            with      as they       proceed         from the           first      step      of deciding             to
visit       the United            States       to the point             of departure                from a U.S.
airport            and the      actual       start       of their         visits.            This     process
includes            visa     acquisition,            passing         through            the airport         facilities,
being        processed          through        federal          inspection,              and using         airport
services.


THE DECISION TO COME TO THE UNITED STATES


Travel        and tourism               promotion        is primarily               a private         sector
undertaking.                 However,        there       is some limited                  federal        government
involvement,                primarily        by USTTA, which               has a budget               of $14 million
for       fiscal      year      1990.        In addition,              state        governments            have become
strong        promoters           of tourism.               According           to the Travel              Industry

                                                                4
Association                of America,              state       tourism          offices          spent     about         $280
million         promoting              domestic         and international                     tourism            in 1989,        a
considerable                increase          over      the       $89 million              they      spent        10 years
ago.


Obtaining            a visa          is often          the      first      contact           someone planning                  to
visit        this         country       has with            the U.S.            government,           and generally                  it
is not a problem                     for     many visa            applicants.                However,            this     process
can be time-consuming                             and tedious            for     citizens           of some countries,
where applicants                     may wait          in line           for     several          hours      at the        local
U.S.      embassy before                   receiving            their          visas.


ARRIVAL AND THE FEDERAL INSPECTION PROCESS


Once a potential                     foreign          visitor           has obtained              a visa,         he or she
will      encounter            three         further          entities            that      preside        over         the process
 of entering               the United              States.          These are:               (1) the         airport
 authorities,                (2) the         federal            inspection              services,         and (3) the
 airlines.                Although          each of them has a different                              function            or
mission,            all      three         share      the desire               to aid visitors'                  entrance           into
 the United               States.           All     three        also     recognize           that        this      process          is
 not carried               out as quickly                   and efficiently                 as it     could         be.
 However,           each apparently                   views       the      source         of the problem
 differently.

 -- Airport               authorities              believe        that         the source           of the problem                  is
        that    the        airlines'              scheduling            causes          "peaking"--the              arrival          of
                                                                    5
     many airplanes             within        a narrow           time     period--and             that      the
     airports           and the     federal          inspection           services          are not         able        to
     adequately           handle     the processing                 of passengers             at peak times.


--   The staff           of the     federal          inspection           services          also      believe           that
     the    source        of the problem              is the airlines'                 scheduling,                and that
     the    airport        authorities           do not provide                  adequate          facilities             for
     passengers,           luggage,         and the          federal           inspection          process         to
     handle       peaking.


--   The airlines            maintain         that     they        are bound by the desires                         and
     needs of their               customers,          that       peaking          is simply         a result            of
     customer           demand,     and that          the     source           of the problem              is that
     airport        authorities           and the        federal          inspection             services          are
     unable       or unwilling            to adequately                 meet customers'                 demands.


A sharp         increase        in international                 travel         combined         with      all     of the
above factors             have caused          congestion               that      taxes     the      airlines,               the
airports,         and the         federal      inspection               services.           Of the airports                     we
reviewed,         all     reported          congestion           problems--particularly                          during
peak times--            causing      delays      for        international             flights.


Peaking         problems        are the result               of various            factors.             Arrival         times
at U.S.         international            airports           are restricted                by noise         and
pollution         control         regulations,              as are departure                times        for      U.S.-
bound flights              from many other              countries.                Passenger          preference               and

                                                             6
the need to meet connecting                             flights        also        dictate       arrival         times.
Passenger          preference             for     things        such as destination                    and time          of
arrival         is an important                  consideration,                particularly            in view        of the
amount of money foreign                          visitors           spend getting             here     and during
their        visits.


In 1989,          an estimated              23 million              foreign        visitors        arrived        in the
United         States       by air.             While       there      are over          400 primary           airports            in
the United              States,      relatively              few handle            most international                 air
traffic.               The 13 airports              we reviewed               handled         about     66 percent            of
all     international               air     passenger             arrivals          in 1989.


Leavins         the      Plane      and Enterino               the Airport


The presence               of a federal              inspection              facility         and the necessary
federal          inspection          staff         distinguishes                international              airports           from
domestic           airports.              Some international                    airports         have inadequate
holding          capacity          for     foreign          visitors          awaiting         clearance         by the
Immigration              and Naturalization                    Service          and Customs.               In fact,           7 of
the airports               we visited            do not even have a transit                            lounge,        forcing
airlines           to hold         passengers            on the plane               if   there        are any backups
in the         clearance           process.             This      circumstance             costs       the    airlines
money,         since       it     decreases          the use of the plane                      and can make for
 irritated             and frustrated              passengers.




                                                                  7
The Federal           Inspection           Clearance          Process


Each of the           four     agencies         constituting             the     federal           inspection
process       has different              responsibilities                in clearing             passengers.
Typically,           incoming      passengers            go through             INS to have their                   travel
papers       reviewed         and stamped,            and pick         up their             luggage,      which          is
then     inspected           by Customs.            Passengers           carrying            plants      or animals
must go through               an APHIS inspection,                    and passengers                 who appear           to
have a contagious               disease         or other           illness       may be subject                to
inspection           under     Public        Health         Service      regulations.


INS inspects           the travel            documents           of every        traveler            who arrives              on
an international               flight,        including            foreign       visitors             and returning
U.S.     citizens.            About       49 percent          of people          entering             the country             at
the airports           we reviewed            were returning                  U.S.     citizens.           Previously,
INS tried          to speed up the              inspection            process          by using         the
"citizens          bypass      system, II under              which      it     did     not     inspect        the travel
documents          of returning            U.S.      citizens.               However,         based on a
reexamination            of the          statute,       INS determined                 it     could     no longer              use
the citizens           bypass         system.         As a result,              the INS'             work load        has
increased,           which,      in turn,           has added to its                  average         processing
time.


INS has been able                to handle           this        increased           work load,          however,
because       it     has had significant                    growth      in staff             since     1987.        It        has
financed           the added staff             and overtime             as a result             of a user           fee of

                                                             8
$5 per passenger.                     This      fee is charged                  on all        international                 airline
and oceanliner                tickets          except        those          of passengers             from Mexico,
Canada,          and the       Caribbean.                  Nevertheless,               despite        the growth              in INS
staff,       airport          managers          consider           INS staffing                inadequate            at a
number of airports.


Passengers          ordinarily               pick     up their              luggage         after     clearing
Immigration            but,      at some airports                      with         inadequate         facilities,             they
now must carry                their      baggage            through           Immigration.               Further,           late
delivery          of luggage,            too        few luggage               handlers,           and/or      too       few or
too      small     luggage         carrousels               can cause passenger                      delays        in
obtaining          their        luggage         and proceeding                      to Customs.


Customs has the                 conflicting                goals       of     (1) enforcing              laws      affecting
what can be brought                     into        this      country          and (2) facilitating                      the
entry      of foreign            visitors            and returning                   U.S.    citizens.             Despite            the
enormous          increase            in Customs'             work load              over    the past         few years,
the number of Customs staff                                at international                  airports         has remained
relatively          constant.                While         a second           $5 per passenger                user       fee is
added to the cost                     of tickets            to fund           Customs services,                 Customs
cannot       directly           access         the     fees        to increase              its     staff,      but      it     can
be used to pay overtime.


To meet the             increasing             work load            without           a commensurate                 increase          in
staff,       Customs has been implementing                                    its     Master        Plan     for      the      199Os,
under       which       it     selectively             inspects             passengers.              Unlike          INS, which

                                                                   9
must inspect            all     passengers,             Customs physically                  inspects              only
passengers         who meet            a profile         it     has developed              of people              most
likely       to be carrying               contraband            or violating              other         laws.          This
screening         allows         about     90 percent              of the passengers                    to spend
little       or no time           in Customs.                 Customs officials                  have stated               that
the amount of contraband                        confiscated             has not decreased                      since
Customs began selectively                         inspecting            passengers.


Federal        inspection          officials            consider         federal          inspection
facilities          inadequate            for     efficient            operations          at nearly              every
airport        we reviewed.               Facilities            at 12 of the              13 airports                 we
reviewed         were too         small         or too poorly             configured             for      efficient
Customs and/or                Immigration          operations,               according           to federal
inspection          officials.


Although         the Congress             has supported                the      International                 Civil
Aviation         Organization's                 recommended            world-wide          goal         of 45 minutes
from the         time     the plane             lands    to the time              that     all         passengers               are
cleared        through         the government                 inspection          process,             this      goal       was
not being         met during             peak times            at many of the airports                           we
reviewed.           Processing            time     usually           ranged        from     1 to 2 hours                   at
these        airports         during      peak times.


Generally,          neither         the APHIS nor the Public                          Health           Service          cause
delays        in passenger             processing.                 Relatively         few passengers                    are
 subject        to either         APHIS or Public                   Health       Service         inspections.

                                                              10
SERVICES/LEAVING                  THE AIRPORT


The number and quality                      of services               provided           at the airport              after
the visitor             clears       the     federal           inspection           process         are important                in
making         the visitor           feel     welcome           and assisting              the visitor              in
reaching         his     or her destination.                         Most      of these        services          are
performed          by contractors               or provided                 by the       airport       authority.


Signs       directing         visitors          to the baggage                   claim      area,       into     and out of
the     federal         inspection           area,       and to airport                  services         can facilitate
the     flow      of passengers              through           the    airport.            However,          signs        are in
English         only,      or English           and international                     symbols          at 3 of the
airports          in our review.                Signs          at some airports                 reflect         a heavy
concentration              of particular                foreign         visitors.              For example,              at
Honolulu          International              Airport,           there        are Japanese              signs,       since
such       a Large       proportion           of Hawaii's               foreign          tourists          are Japanese;
there       are signs         in Spanish             at Houston              (Texas)        International                Airport
to accommodate              Houston's           many Mexican                 visitors.             Signs       at 6
airports         were in more than                   one foreign               language.            O'Hare
International              Airport          is testing,              in one of its              international
terminals,             electronic           signs       that        can be programmed                  to call           up 7
different          languages.


One of the          major         complaints            about        airport         services          is the       lack        of
free       baggage        carts      or the need to surrender                            the    free       baggage         carts
available          in the         federal       inspection              area upon exiting.                      Ten of the

                                                               11
airports       we looked           at provide              baggage        carts,       usually        for     a
charge,       that      can be used throughout                         the terminal,             while      the
remaining        3 provide             free      baggage         carts     which       must be surrendered
upon leaving            the     federal            inspection          area.        In the       latter       case,
travelers        usually          have the option                  of hiring         a skycap         or paying
(usually        $1) for         a cart          upon leaving             the     federal       inspection           area.


Twelve       of the airports                  in our review              offer      some form of full-time
translation            services.              One of the smaller                   airports       hires       part-time
translators            only      during         the peak foreign                 tourist       season        (summer).
At some of the                airports,            translators           are available            only       in the
federal        inspection            area,         while     others       provide          translation            services
throughout            the     international                terminal.            Translation         services          may be
provided        in person,             by phone,            or by a computer                terminal.


Translation            services           at the airports                ranged       from a capability                for
communicating               in four        or five          languages            to the combined             capability
of 17 languages,                 the      latter       provided          by translators             at Miami
 (Florida)           International              Airport.           In addition,             USTTA administers
the Gateway Receptionist                           Program,        which         employs      college        students
with       foreign       language          skills          as translators             who assist            both    foreign
visitors        and the          inspection            services          in the       federal        inspection
process.             The program           is      funded       by USTTA and work study                      grants       from
the    Department             of Health            and Human Services.                     Participants            in the
program        are also          given        training          in all         aspects      of airport



                                                              12
management.               This     program         operates        at 7 of the airports                    we
reviewed.


All     but     one of the airports                  we reviewed             have foreign           tourist
information             booths,         most of which             provide      maps, brochures                  on
popular         local      attractions,             and lodging,             dining,       and transportation
information.               At least          8 of the airports                provide          some type         of
information             printed         in one or more languages                       other     than      English.
For example,              JFX (New York)              International             Airport         provides         a guide
to the airport               in several            languages,          and Logan International
Airport         provides          a map of Boston              in four        languages.            In addition,
bilingual          or multilingual                 staff      are available             at many of the
information             booths       to provide             assistance        and information.


Of the         airports          we visited,          all     provide        lodging       information                for
those         who need it--often                   at the     foreign        tourist       information               booths-
 -and some provide                 assistance              in obtaining         lodging.           In some cases,
 lodging        assistance              consists      of a hotel/motel                 phone board,             a service
 that     is paid         for     by the hotels              and motels         represented             on the board-
 -usually         chain       hotels        and motels            located      near the         airport.
 Unfortunately,                 these     are not always              the accommodations                   sought           by
 tourists,         who often             prefer      staying        in the      city      or near tourist
 attractions.               Logan International                    Airport      in Boston          has a hotel
 reservations             booth,         similar      to those          typically         found     at major
 European         airports,             staffed      by bilingual            or multilingual                people           who



                                                             13
make lodging              recommendations              for     a wide        range       of budgets,              and
actually         book the reservations                       as well.


Currency         exchange          services      are available                  at all      of the      airports             we
looked       at and generally                 operate         when international                  flights          arrive.
Most of the            currency         exchange        booths          remain       open until         30 minutes
after      the     last     international              arrival          of the day.              However,          currency
exchange         booths       are not         always         conveniently            located.          For example,
at one airport,               the     currency         exchange          booth       is located         on the
departure,          rather         than    the arrival,              level       of the terminal.


Ground transportation                     services           are available              at all      of the
airports         we reviewed.              Such services                generally         include       buses,
taxis,        rental       cars,       airport       shuttles           to nearby         hotels       or other
locations          and,      in some cases,             rapid        transit.            At Chicago's              O'Hare
International              Airport,        phone lines            and a display              board          (in    English
only)        provide       transportation              information,              while      Newark
International              Airport        provides           a pamphlet          warning         visitors          in eight
languages          to be aware of unauthorized                             ground       transportation.


WHAT IS BEING DONE TO SOLVE THE PROBLEMS


At all        of the       13 airports           we looked           at,     renovations            or new
facilities             are either         planned,           under      construction,              or were recently
completed,             to increase          capacity          and allow           for    more efficient
federal          inspection           processing.             Expansion          projects          may include

                                                             14
plans      for     larger       or new terminals                     with     more gates           and newly
designed,          larger       federal        inspection               areas.        Nearly         every      expansion
project          includes       plans      to increase                 the number of luggage                    carrousels
in the       federal        inspection           area.


In addition,           the      following             projects          are underway:


--   Orlando         (Florida)           International                 Airport       is providing             video         tapes
     to airlines            to show in flight,                       which       describe          in five      languages
     the     federal         inspection          process             at the airport.


-- At O'Hare            in Chicago,            a computerized                    translation           service         is
     being        tested.         Computer            screens          give      information           on lodging,
     transportation,               and so forth,                  in all         major      languages.


--   The Department               of Transportation                     is considering               expanding          the
     "open        skies"       policy,        whereby            the United          States         negotiates          an
     agreement          with      another        country              allowing       an unlimited              number of
     flights         from the country                   to land          at any U.S.           international
     airport.           This      policy        reduces              congestion          at the most heavily
     used international                    airports             by encouraging              the rerouting              of
     incoming          international                 traffic          to lesser-used               airports       and new
     hubs.          However,        INS and Customs are concerned                                  about      their
     ability         to meet staffing                   needs at airports                   that     would       receive
     more international                    traffic             under     an expanded           open skies             policy.



                                                                15
     The U.S.          Department            of State            is testing                 a visa       waiver         program.
     This     3-year       pilot       program           allows              passengers               from eight
     designated           countries             to simply             fill       out an information                       form at
     the     airport        for     INS,        instead          of having             to obtain               a visa         abroad.
     Countries          with       high      rates       of traffic                  to the United                States            and a
     low risk          of immigration                violations,                 based on historical
     experience,            were selected                  for     visa        waivers.                Unlike       normal           visa
     holders,          however,           applicants              under        the visa               waiver      program            give
     up their          right       to appeal           the decision                   if      they      are denied                 entry
     to the United                States.           This         can save INS legal                        costs.             The State
     Department           would       like        to see this                 program             expanded        to include                30
     to 35 qualifying                 countries.                  Although            the visa             waiver        program
     facilitates            entry         for     foreign          visitors                participating              in the
     program       and reduces                  the State          Department's                    work load,            it        does
     not     reduce       the      INS'         work load          or processing                      time,      according             to
     some INS and airport                        officials,              since        it      still        requires            the
     inspection            of a travel              document                 (the visa            waiver       form).


--   Customs and Immigration                          are using               preclearance                 and
     preinspection                programs          to reduce                their         costs       and processing
     work      load      at major           airports             and to facilitate                       the     entry         of
     foreign       tourists.                Preclearance                 is the            full       inspection              of
     passengers            and their             baggage          at foreign                ports        by U.S.
     federal           inspectors.               Currently,              there        are nine             preclearance
     ports       in Canada,           Bermuda,.and                    the Bahamas.                    Generally,
     precleared            passengers              are eligible                 for        entry       into      the United

                                                                 16
     States     without         undergoing         any other          checks        by federal
     inspectors           at U.S.     ports      of entry          and may even arrive                at
     domestic       airports.           Preinspection              is a partial             (INS only)
     inspection           conducted          at some Bahamian             airports          and at Shannon
     Airport       in Ireland.           As of this             summer,      INS is also           conducting
     a pilot       preinspection              program         at Heathrow       and Gatwick            airports
     in the United            Kingdom.


     INS strongly            supports         preclearance           and preinspection               because         of
     the time       and cost        savings.            If     an individual           is    found
     inadmissable            in the originating                 country      rather         than     in the
     United       States,       the airline            refuses       to allow        the     individual         to
     board      the plane,          and INS is spared                detention,         court,        and
     deportation            costs     that     would         be incurred       if    the     individual         were
     denied       entry      at a U.S.         port.


--   Increased        automation,             where used,          has decreased             processing
     time.        For example,           increased            use of machine-readable                  travel
     documents        and automated             baggage          inspections         has speeded
     processing           at some airports.                   However,      other      airports        do not
     have the necessary                 equipment,            such as machine           readers,           to make
     use of all           the technological                  innovations.




                                                        17
PRELIMINARY OBSERVATIONS


Although        the airport             authorities             and the              federal         inspection
services       might       prefer          more evenly              spaced           flights         to avoid           peaking
and would        like         other     options         to redistribute                      their         work loads,            the
reality        is that         prevailing            airline          schedules              reflect          travelers'
needs based on desirable                        arrival         times,             connecting              flights,         and
other      considerations.                  The challenge                to the             federal         inspection
services        and airport             authorities              is to find                 a way to do the best
and most expeditious                    job     they      can,        operating              within         the parameters
determined            by travelers'             needs.


The entities             concerned          with       the     facilitation                    of foreign             visitors
are making            great      efforts        to solve             existing              problems.            However,
adequate        facilities             are critical                 to the          issue       of facilitation.                   For
example,        if      there      are not enough luggage                            carrousels,              everyone
loses--passengers,                    the airlines,                 airports,              and the         federal
inspection            services.            Based on our work to date,                                 we offer           the
following            preliminary           observations                on possible               actions          to take         to
better      facilitate             foreign         tourism:


-- Although             USTTA is not responsible                             for     providing             adequate
     airport          services         and facilities                  for         foreign       visitors,             perhaps
     it    could        be active          in designing                a model plan                  for     receiving
     foreign          travelers.              This     plan         could          give      guidance         to airport
     operators           who want to provide                        the best              possible         services         and

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     facilities            to foreign              visitors              who pass through               their     gates.
     Such a model could                       incorporate                some of the more innovative
     projects           underway          at various                airports,           such as machine-
     readable           document          capability,                computerized               translators,            lodging
     information             and reservations                       booths,          and multilingual             video
     tapes        for     airlines.


--   USTTA could             also        consider         expanding               the Gateway Receptionist
     Program,           which         benefits          (1)     foreign           tourists         who speak little                or
     no English,                (2)     federal         inspectors,               and (3) college               students
     who are able                to make good use of their                              foreign        language         skills.
     Funds necessary                    to expand the program                         could       be provided           on a
     matching            funds        basis       by USTTA and participating                            airport
     authorities,                as is done now at most participating                                      airports.


--   To more efficiently                        use its         resources,              INS could         consider
     seeking            appropriate             legal         authority           to reinstate            the use of the
     U.S.     citizens            bypass          system.                This    program        would     substantially
     decrease            INS'         inspection         work load               and speed the            flow     of
     passengers             through            the clearance                 process,         since     about      49 percent
     of all         passengers                on international                   flights        that    landed       in the
     airports            we reviewed              are returning                  U.S.      citizens.


--   Exemptions             from user             fees        for        travelers         from Canada,           Mexico          and
     the     Caribbean                could     be removed to give                      INS and Customs more
     funds        to improve              their      processing                 capabilities.             The foreign

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   visitors    who pay the user           fees    are certainly      entitled   to receive
   adequate    services     for   their     money.




Mr. Chairman    and Members of the Subcommittee,                  this   completes   my
statement.     I will     be happy to answer           any questions       you may have.




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APPENDIX I                                                                                       APPENDIX I


The following         are the        13 airports              included        in our review,      and the
number of foreign             visitors         that     entered          the U.S.   at each in 1989.


1. John F. Kennedy International                             Airport                 4,942,400
2. Miami      International              Airport                                    2,610,400
3. Los Angeles          International               Airport                          2,013,200
4. Honolulu        International             Airport                                 1,415,900
 5. San Francisco          International               Airport                         805,800
 6. O'Hare       International            Airport        (Chicago)                     632,600
 7. Orlando       International             Airport                                    509,000
 8. Houston       Intercontinental                 Airport                             505,600
 9. Logan International                  Airport        (Boston)                       474,300
10. Dallas/Ft.        Worth       International               Airport                  340,400
11. Newark International                  Airport                                      299,100
12. Atlanta       International             Airport                                    274,600
13. Seattle-Tacoma            International              Airport                       274,600


     Total    foreign      visitors           at 13 airports                        15,097,900
     Total    foreign      visitors           at all         U.S.      airports     22,724,900




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