SOURCE: Business for Economic Security, Tourism and Trade

September 25, 2007 16:21 ET

Revenue Losses From Passport Requirement Greater Than Originally Reported

DETROIT, MI and BELLINGHAM, WA--(Marketwire - September 25, 2007) - Today, the Business for Economic Security, Trade and Tourism (BESTT) coalition, consisting of U.S. and Canadian chambers of commerce, businesses and governments along the American northern border, released a report illustrating a projected $650 million loss in revenue from fewer Canadians traveling to the U.S. if a passport requirement is implemented. The study was prepared for the Tourism Industry Association of Canada by InterVISTAS Consulting Inc.

Earlier projections of revenue loss to the American economy were originally pegged at $30 million annually. The new, comprehensive report factored in the impact the proposed passport regulation would have on consumer surplus and tourist expenditures within the U.S.

"This report clearly shows the dire economic impact of over-reaching regulations," said Sarah Hubbard, Detroit Regional Chamber Vice President for Government Relations. "It's important to craft policies that balance security with the free flow of travel."

BESTT is urging Congress to meet increased security needs at the border by allowing U.S. and Canadian citizens to use enhanced, state-issued identification cards when crossing the border rather than a mandated passport.

"There is a better way to achieve a safe and open border," said Ken Oplinger, president and CEO of the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber. "Improving the process for issuing drivers' licenses will mitigate any negative impact on cross-border travel caused by stricter regulations."

The United States and Canada have the world's largest trading relationship. An estimated $1.2 billion in U.S. dollars of trade crosses the U.S.-Canadian border daily -- 40 percent of it at the five international land-border crossings in the Detroit/Windsor Region.

For a complete copy of the report, visit

http://www.besttcoalition.com/files/IVC_ReviewEconomicImpactofProposedChanges_Final_24Aug2007.pdf

For more information on BESTT, visit www.besttcoalition.com.

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