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Travel Industry Association Has Misgivings Over New Deptartment of
Homeland Security Plan to Phase in Cross Border
Travel by Land and Sea

 
WASHINGTON, DC (June 20, 2007) — The head of the travel industry association expressed misgivings over plans released today for the government to phase-in implementation of new ID requirements for persons arriving in the U.S. by land and sea beginning in January.
 
The Department of Homeland Security today said that beginning January 31, 2008, U.S. and Canadian citizens will need to present either a passport or government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, plus proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate, when entering the U.S.  Children under 16 years of age would be required to present certified copies of their birth certificates.
 
At a date still to be determined, DHS would begin implementing full requirements of the land and sea phase of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which mandates that all persons entering the U.S. be required to show a passport or authorized travel documents.  Government officials said they expect full implementation to be in the summer of 2008, though Congress has required that it be implemented only by June 2009.  Both the Senate and House recently passed legislation requiring that the new rules be implemented no earlier than the June 2009 date.
 
“We’ve already seen the confusion created over the passport requirements for persons traveling by air, and this two-tiered approach for land and sea will only make things more confusing for travelers,” said Roger Dow, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Travel Industry Association.  “We support efforts to improve our security, but are wary of our government’s ability to communicate and implement multiple phases in a manner that works for those who will be affected.  
 
“Our government does not have a track record of getting it right the first time when it comes to WHTI.  We think it would be most prudent for the Departments of State and Homeland Security to show they have met all of the Congressional mandates before announcing any plans to go forward with what they announced today.”
 
New requirements for having passports to enter the U.S. on airplanes began in January.  The increased number of applications for passports inundated the State Department and caused the processing time to balloon from three weeks a year ago to up to three months presently.  The State Department recently announced that through September 30 it will temporarily allow American air passengers to re-enter the U.S. if they have a government-issued photo ID and proof that they have applied for a passport.
 
The Travel Business Roundtable (TBR), a strategic partner to the Travel Industry Association, is a CEO-based organization representing all sectors of the travel and tourism industry. TBR’s mission is to educate public officials and policymakers about the important social and economic contributions of the travel and tourism industry. For more information, visit www.tbr.org.

The Travel Industry Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the $700 billion travel industry. TIA's mission is to promote and facilitate increased travel to and within the United States. 

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Contact:

 The Travel Industry Association
Cathy Keefe
202-408-2183, ckeefe@tia.org 
www.tia.org

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Also See: Travel Industry Leaders Claim Majority of Americans Still Confused Over Passport Requirements; A Passport Now Required Regardless of the Country from Which U.S. Citizens are Returning Including Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean / May 2007
Top Ten Issues in the Hospitality Industry for 2007 / International Society of Hospitality Consultants / November 2006
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