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NTA and Partners Fight for Students and Seniors

July 13, 2005

NTA and Partners Fight for Students and Seniors
July 13, 2005 – The National Tour Association, in partnership with the Student & Youth Travel Association and the United States Tour Operators Association, voiced its concern about the impact of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. This measure would require U.S. citizens, Canadians, citizens of the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda and citizens of Mexico to have a passport to enter or reenter the United States.


In a letter sent to the U.S. Department of State Counselor Affairs and to the Department of Homeland Security, NTA, SYTA and USTOA proposed that the initiative’s implementation be postponed until Jan. 1, 2008. In addition, they urged Congress to adopt legislation that would lower passport fees for students and seniors to a maximum of $50.


The letter cited the difficulties the initiative would add for the student and senior market, stating that it would cause a "significant expense to cross-border travel for these groups, for negligible security gain." The letter further added that as a result, "student travel will be limited in its scope and educational impact, while fixed-income seniors will have to budget more money for a cruise or cross-border trip."


"We are extremely concerned about the impact an initiative such as this could have on the travel industry, specifically to student and senior travelers who may be less able acquire a passport, " NTA President Hank Phillips, CTP, said. "NTA, SYTA and USTOA will continue working together to provide information to the State Department and others on the potential impact the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative would have on the tourism industry."


The National Tour Association has nearly 4,000 tourism professional members from 28 countries involved in the growth and development of the packaged travel industry. Its membership includes tour operators – group, independent, inbound and outbound – and the destinations and suppliers that partner with them. The association is committed to providing business results and information to its members, while offering a collaborative, caring environment in which to build relationships. For more information, please visit

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