News from Canada

A couple of interesting news items from this week's e-newsletter from Meetings and Incentive Travel, a Canadian meeting magazine. It seems that Canada is taking a serious interest in increasing travel across the U.S.-Canada border.

First, it said that the "Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) president, Anthony Pollard, met with the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance recently to make recommendations for additional government investment in the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) and for infrastructure improvements to Canada/U.S. border crossings. " Among the suggestions are $175 million/year for the CTC from the government (with suggestions on how to fund the funding), and to find ways to reverse the loss of 1.05 million visitors from the U.S. "due in large part to a negative perception [real and perceived] of what crossing the border is like.”

    Proposed solutions included more effective communication of border-crossing requirements to citizens; working with the U.S. to build on the Smart Border Initiative; the harmonization of customs procedures and increased investment towards both long and short-term infrastructure improvements.

Another was an item on the launch of the CANPASS Air Program at the Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport. "The program allows frequent, pre-approved travellers to meet their border clearance obligations by simply looking into a camera that recognizes the iris of the eye as proof of identity." It's only open for citizens and permanent residents of the U.S. and Canada, costs $50, and is now in effect in Vancouver, Halifax and Toronto international airports, in addition to Montreal, and will be implemented soon in Calgary, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Ottawa.

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