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Despite stalled growth in China, Brazil and Russia, a wave of newly middle-class travelers from the BRICs and beyond will start visiting international destinations in the coming decades — dwarfing the numbers we’ve seen thus far.
President Obama’s initiatives — including smoother visa processes abroad and expanding Global Entry — aim to increase foreign arrivals and boost travel spend to $250 billion by 2012. A small but steady positive impact is already being seen.
Travelers from the UK, Germany, South Korea, and Qatar are now eligible to apply for the U.S. trusted traveler initiative, Global Entry.
The program, run by U.S. Customs and Border Protectionr eases airport security screenings for pre-approved, low-risk flyers. The program was previously only available to citizens of the Netherlands, Mexico, and through the NEXUS program, Canada.
Global Entry applicants go through an application and interview process. Once approved, they can skip customs lines, scan their passport and fingerprint at a Global Entry kiosk, and proceed to baggage claim.
There are Global Entry kiosks set up at 34 U.S. airports and 10 pre-clearance facilities abroad, with another possibly opening in Abu Dhabi.