Wednesday, November 22, 2006


U.S. is most unfriendly country to visitors - survey
Rude immigration officials and long delays in processing visas have turned the United States into the world's most unfriendly country for international travellers, according to a global survey released on Monday.

The survey showed that the United States was ranked "the worst" in terms of visas and immigration procedures by twice the percentage of travellers as the next destination regarded as unfriendly -- the Middle East and the Asian subcontinent.

The survey, of 2,011 international travellers in 16 countries, was conducted by the polling firm RT Strategies for the Discover America Partnership, a business-backed group launched in September to promote travel to the United States and improve the country's image abroad.

More than half of the travellers surveyed said U.S. immigration officials were rude and two-thirds said they feared they would be detained on arriving in the United States for a simple mistake in their paper work or for saying the wrong thing to an immigration official.

"The entry process has created a climate of fear and frustration that is keeping foreign visitors away," said Geoff Freeman, executive director of the Discover America Partnership. "The survey shows there is more fear of our immigration officials than of terrorism or crime."

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