Anorak News | American Customs: A Fiver To Enter The Land Of The Free

American Customs: A Fiver To Enter The Land Of The Free

by | 22nd, June 2007

FREEDOM may be about to cost a little bit more as the US Government ponders whether or not to slap a $10 tourist tax on Britons entering the self-styled home of the brave.

The proposals were drawn up by the Discover America Partnership which represents a number of tourist groups and are set to be debated by the US congress.

Governor Tom Ridge, a former secretary of Homeland Security, who unveiled the new plans says: “Securing our nation’s borders and facilitating travel are not mutually exclusive. Our borders are the intersection of security and prosperity. We must have the will to eliminate inefficiencies and build the most secure and traveller friendly entry process possible.”

The money would be used to improve security at US ports as well as helping to fund an information campaign for tourists visiting the country.

However, the US tourist industry has become increasingly concerned at the impact the new security regime is having on visitor numbers. Indeed, visits by Britons to the States fell from 4,703,000 in 2001 to 4,345,000 in 2005, despite the extremely favourable exchange rate.

Jonathan Lhowe, of Visit New, is worried. “People complain that they are not made to feel very welcome when they arrive and making them pay for the privilege is not going to help. If you are trying to bring in a family, you could be paying $40 or $50. Nobody loves a tax, but for legislators at least tourists don’t have a vote,” says he.

Although £5 for freedom sounds reasonable…

Posted: 22nd, June 2007 | In: Money Comments (3) | TrackBack | Permalink