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Business travelers shy away from U.S.

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SCOTT JAGOW: Fewer people are flying into the U.S. to do business. A new report says incoming business travel dropped 10 percent in the last two years. This has to do with security and reputation. Diantha Parker explains.


DIANTHA PARKER: The World Travel Market findings don’t surprise travel experts in the U.S., but they frustrate them.

Rick Webster handles government affairs for the Travel Industry Association of America. He says the dropoff is based more on travelers’ perceptions than their experience.

RICK WEBSTER: If you have the option of working with three different vendors, and one may be located in a country you are not favorably disposed toward, you may not make that trip.

Multiply this individual decision by a million, says Webster, and you have a bad rap that can be aggravated by real-life annoyances at border checkpoints.

Webster says he’s working with the State Department on how to combat America’s bad image.

WEBSTER: We need to cut out those exceptions when you have U.S. customs and border protection officers barking and hollering at people that they’re in the wrong line.

Webster also says the State Department is working on a new border professionalism initiative.

His biggest advice for customs officials? Smile, even if you feel like barking.

I’m Diantha Parker for Marketplace.

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