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NTA Says PASS Plan a Step in the Right Direction, but Not a Final Solution

January 18, 2006

NTA Says PASS Plan a Step in the Right Direction, but Not a Final Solution
January 18, 2006 – The National Tour Association applauds the creation of the People Access Security Service Card announced by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff. However, the association cautions that more details are needed to gauge the impact this alternative to passports will have on of student/youth and senior travel.


"The creation of a cheap, secure alternative to passports is good for the industry and good for the traveling public," NTA President Hank Phillips, CTP, said. "Until we know more about it, however, we cannot accurately gauge the impact on student and senior travel. How much of a step forward this is remains to be seen."


NTA, in comments to the State Department and DHS, stressed that a passport-only requirement would severely limit student travel and place financial hardship on seniors taking short cross-border trips.


"It is our position that if licenses and birth certificates, and/or another secondary document, comply with certain requirements – especially given the new requirements found in the REAL ID Act – they also should be authorized as appropriate substitutes to a passport," NTA said.


NTA was one of the first travel industry associations active on the issue. In May 2005, a delegation of NTA members met with P.T. Wright, the executive director of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, US-VISIT at the annual NTA Grassroots Symposium. The group told Wright that student and senior travel would suffer if the passport-only requirements remained in force. NTA’s Grassroots Action Network also has been active on the issue, urging the State Department and Congressional leaders to explore passport alternatives.


"The creation of a PASS card signals that the powers-that-be in Washington, D.C., are responding, at least in part, to travel industry concerns," NTA Legislative Counsel Jim Santini said. "We will continue in our allied efforts to facilitate safe, secure travel for our nation’s student and senior groups."


The National Tour Association has a global membership of tourism professionals involved in the growth and development of the packaged travel industry. Its membership includes more than 600 tour operator companies – 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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