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Will New Federal Regulations Restrict Your Site Choices?

Do you plan meetings or conferences in Canada or Mexico that U.
citizens attend?If so, you may soon have a tough time picking the perfect location for your next meeting or conference when a new effort by the Department of Homeland Security is implemented in December 2006.
Called the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (or WHTI referred to as "Wheaty"), this effort requires all travelers entering or exiting the U.
from the Caribbean, Bermuda, Panama, Mexico and Canada to have a valid passport or other secure travel documentation.
Beginning in December 2007, the requirement extends to all land border crossings.
Changes may be coming to WHTI - several senators have filed WHTI-related pieces of legislation that may extend the 2007 date.
At the World Travel and Tourism Summit in Washington, D.
on April 11, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff spoke about an alternate to the passport called the People Access Security Service or PASS system.
This would allow travelers to satisfy the WHTI mandate with something more convenient and cost-effective than a passport - a type of identification card similar to a driver's license.
There are also plans to combine all individual traveler programs into one global enrollment system.
It is not clear what the future holds for WHTI and border security concerns, but it is something that planners need to keep in mind while selecting site locations.
When the changes do go into effect, be sure to let your attendees know what the new requirements are and any changes that may occur.
For more information on WHTI, visit the Department of Homeland Security.

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