Tourism group laments TSA security changes

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The U.S. Travel Association is urging the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to provide “as much information” about to airline passengers about its crack down on security of international flights. 

"The U.S. travel community's default position is that safety and security need to be the top priorities in air travel policy,” U.S. Travel Association President Roger Dow said in a statement. “If our national security apparatus has actionable intelligence on potential threats, we support near-term measures to mitigate any problems and ensure the uninterrupted functioning of our air travel infrastructure.

"We urge any and all relevant federal agencies to give travelers to the U.S. as much information as possible about what to expect and how to prepare for the enhanced measures,” Dow continued. “We and our private-sector stakeholders are doing the same. Brand USA, our national destination marketing organization, is to be commended for actively engaging travelers through online messaging and helping spread the word in key markets abroad.” 

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The TSA announced last week it was implementing “enhanced security measures” including requiring passengers to power on their cell phones and other portable devices on flights from international airports that fly directly to the U.S. The announcement came after military officials raised concerns about al Qaeda affiliated foreign fighters using Western passports to evade terrorist watch lists.

The agency said it was targeting cell phones and other electronic devices because “it's something we felt was necessary.” 

Dow said he hoped the inconvenience to tourism who are visiting the U.S. would be minimal. 

“The traveling public is resilient and adaptable,” he said. “Through many similar threats in the past, inbound travel to the U.S. has always continued to grow, to a record 70 million visitors last year. If there is any disruption to travel volume at all, we expect it will be temporary and negligible."