BVI JOINS CAMPAIGN SEEKING
DELAY IN NEW U.S PASSPORT RULES
Virgin Islands Tourist Board BVITB has started to put systems in place to ensure
that the territory, as a premier vacation destination, is not impacted
negatively by the new United States passport regulation.
government has announced that effective January 1, 2006, U.S. citizens visiting
the Caribbean will be required to be in possession of a valid US passport to
re-enter the United States.
impact study, conducted by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) on behalf
of the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA), considered the market share of
visitors from the United States to the Caribbean and the percentage of those
visitors that do not use a valid U.S. passport. The study examined these figures
against total visitor export earnings in the region, which total US$20.7 billion
and concluded that in the Caribbean, as much as US$2.6 billion of visitor export
earnings and more than 188,000 travel and tourism jobs could be at risk.
the study, the BVI gets 64.3% of its visitors from the U.S. market and 50% of
them do not use passports. The study therefore concluded that the territory
stands to lose $102m or 32.2% in visitor exports and 1, 863 travel and tourism
jobs as a result of this new passport regulation.
while the 64.3 % representing the percentage of US visitors to the Territory
corresponds with BVI Government’s Development Planning Unit (DPU) figures, the
DPU reports that for the years 2003 and 2004 approximately 92.4% of US citizens
entering the Territory entered with passports while about 5.7% entered with
birth certificates or voter registration cards and about 1.9% with other
Tourism Kedrick Malone said the territory welcomes hundreds of new visitors each
year and as such, would definitely be impacted by this new regulation. He said:
“The market has become very much a last minute market and last minute travelers
seldom have passport credentials.”
He said the
Tourist Board has started to advertise, put notices on its website at
www.bvitourism.com, produced a flyer to be displayed at trade shows and release
information in the Welcome Magazine.
is also supporting a call by the CHA for the U.S. to give the region’s tourism
industry more time to prepare for this change.
appreciate U.S. concern for its security, but cannot lose sight of the impact of
the new regulations on Caribbean travel and tourism, which will be a permanent
realignment of traffic, with spontaneous, last minute travel significantly
reduced,” said CHA President Berthia Parle. “Our position advocates an
extension of time for the Caribbean to the same introductory date as Mexico and
Canada, January 1, 2008, to allow the region’s tourism to prepare better.”
This is one
of the items discussed by industry officials at the Hyatt Regency in Miami,
Florida, June 26-29 for CHIC 2005, the Caribbean Hotel Industry Conference.
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