Tag Archives: Tourism

The Perils and Potential of Visa Diplomacy: The Importance of Waiting Times (Part 2)

The latest piece by Nicholas Dynon in the University of Southern California’s Center on Public Diplomacy blog…

In January 2012, amid concerns that the U.S. was failing to capitalize on global tourism growth, President Obama issued an executive order aimed at improving U.S. visa processing in Brazil and China. In relation to China, this meant requiring the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security tocreate a plan within 60 days to increase nonimmigrant (NIV) visa processing capacity in China by 40% within 12 months, and “to ensure that 80 percent of nonimmigrant visa applicants are interviewed within 3 weeks of receipt of application.”

The following month, the then-U.S. Ambassador to China, Gary Locke, claimed that 50 new consular officers would be dispatched to China and a consular facility in Beijing reopened that would increase interviewing capacity by 50%.  Almost three years on, available evidence from the International Trade Administration suggests that U.S. visa offices in China are meeting President Obama’s targets. Read further at the CPD Blog…

 

The Perils and Potential of Visa Diplomacy: An Immigration Practitioner’s Perspective

The literature on the relationship between public diplomacy and visas is as polarized as the effects that a nation’s visa policy can have on its image. Visa liberalization policies, such as the broadening of visa waiver programs, can often enhance a nation’s public diplomacy strategy. But this same strategy can be severely undermined by the security-driven imposition of visa red tape. In both cases, the literature closely mimics views expressed in online visa forums and in embassies’ visa section waiting rooms the world over: that entry to another country is regarded by travelers as a basic human right, and visa red tape a violation of that right.

Rubbing up against this, of course, is the sovereign right exercised by states to protect their territorial integrity by regulating their borders. Visa regimes – and their practitioners – are caught between the seemingly dichotomous objectives of facilitating bona fide travelers and migrants on the one hand and preventing nonbona fide movements of people on the other… read on at the USC Center on Public Diplomacy’s CPD Blog

USA Embassy

[Seal of an Embassy of the United States of America – a familiar image for those in waiting in long US visa queues]

 

The Fiji Airways Re-launch & the Decline of Region Branding

Fiji Airways

The success of Air Pacific’s relaunch as Fiji Airways speaks loudly to the declining use of the Pacific as a brand.

In 1971, Fiji Airways made the strategic decision to forsake the Fiji brand and rebrand as Air Pacific. In 2012, after over four decades of operation as Air Pacific, the airline reversed history, boldly effecting a total rebrand and returning to its former name. A year on and the Fiji Airways redux is proving an overwhelming success, but rebrands never come cheap nor without overwhelming risk. So, what led the airline to forsake its 40 year-old regional brand in favor of a new national identity?

At over five and a half thousand miles from either Los Angeles or Beijing, Fiji is separated from almost everywhere by the massive expanse of the Pacific Ocean and its sparse confetti of micro-states. Peripherality and economies of scale have been limiting factors in the development of the Pacific’s islands. Although the region’s major industry is tourism, for example, international air traffic tends to fly over rather than to it. In geographic terms it is a super-region, yet in human terms it is a minnow, often expressed as an after-thought (‘Asia-Pacific’) or as a marker to its more ‘important’ littoral neighbors (‘Pacific Rim’). Not surprisingly, place branding discourse on the region tends to be limited to obscure references in development assistance, ethnographic and environmental reportage.

Even under the best of circumstances, the challenges facing the formation of a region brand are immense. Marcus Andersen (2009), in his study of region branding in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR), identifies two major challenges: diversity “in terms of the multiple national identities and many potential stakeholders”, and the absence of a central decision-making authority. The BSR, he observes, lacks many of the prerequisites for building a brand, such as a political structure, common culture, common history, and linguistic affinity. The Pacific is no exception, yet in its case the challenges are amplified by the incoherence the region derives from the asymmetry of its geographic and human footprints. – Read on at The Public Diplomat

Soft Power Meets Social Management: New Tourism Law to Punish Unruly Travelers Overseas

The latest article by Nicholas Dynon featured in today’s Jamestown Foundation China Brief…

[“Ding Jinhao was here”]

Passed last April, the new China Tourism Law came into effect on October 1, in time for this year’s Chinese National Day “golden week” holiday. While the main thrust of the legislation is greater regulation of the domestic and outbound tourism industry and squeezing out unscrupulous operators, the law breaks new ground by legislating requirements for civilized tourist behavior.

Following a long run of bad international press about poorly behaved Chinese tourists, the new law comes as a decisive move by Beijing to reign in its unruly globetrotting citizens. It also serves as implied official acknowledgement that the negative press has hurt China’s “soft power” efforts to bolster its reputation among the world’s publics.

Furthermore, the law includes an ambitious effort to extend China’s social control strategies beyond its borders, providing a legal basis for Beijing to manage its citizens abroad just as does at home. Failure to tow the official line overseas can now land a tourist in hot water back home… read more