US-Visit, a part of the US Department of Homeland Security, is planning tests of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology at the US land border. The technology will be tested at a simulated port this spring. By July 31 2005, the testing will begin at the ports of Nogales East and Nogales West in Arizona; Alexandria Bay in New York; and Pacific Highway and Peace Arch in Washington. The testing or "proof of concept" phase is expected to continue through the spring of 2006. The optimal technology will allow for a unique and automatic identifier to be issued to pedestrians and visitors crossing in vehicles. http://www.dhs.gov/us- visitJan 31, 2005 The Business Travel Coalition called on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to immediately abandon its drive to raise aviation system security taxes by $1.5 billion dollars annually, or by more than 50%. The domestic U.S. commercial air transportation industry is in a state of deepening crisis and is entering its fifth straight year of multi billion dollar losses. A critical infrastructure is at growing risk of collapse. Jan 30, 2005 TSA considers optional toll program to speed airport security checks. The TSA is considering a program that would allow passengers to pay a fee in exchange for getting through airport security checkpoints faster. An Orlando, Fla., pilot project would be open to all travelers. The fee of up to $100 a year will cover the extensive technology used in the program. Jan 30, 2005 Fresh data from a leading hotel industry source confirms earlier indications that the lodging recovery that began tentatively at the end of 2003 gained momentum in gateway cities through 2004. Occupancy in 2004 for U.S. hotels jumped to 61.3 percent, a 3.7 percent increase over 2003, according to final year-end figures released yesterday by Smith Travel Research, a Henderson, Tenn.-based firm that tracks lodging industry performance. Average room rates increased 4 percent, while revenue per available room, which combines occupancy and ADR into a key industry productivity measure, gained 7.8 percent. Jan 28, 2005 President Bush seeks higher airline security fees. A tax imposed after 9/11 and charged to airline passengers to help pay for airport security would more than double under President Bush's spending proposal for the Department of Homeland Security, according to portions of the department's budget obtained yesterday by The Associated Press. Under the proposal, the security tax, which is collected by the airlines from their customers, would climb from $2.50 to $5.50 per flight segment. The increase would generate $1.5 billion. Jan 28, 2005 International travelers to America continued to visit the USA last year, according to new statistics from the US Department of Commerce. In the first ten months of 2004, 32.2 million international travelers visited the US, an increase of 12% from the same period a year earlier. The Department says the figures are not skewed by a one-off surge in any particular month. US arrivals experienced growth in visitation for 13 consecutive months. Overseas arrivals through ports were up 15% for the ten months of 2004. Arrivals through the 15 ports of entry represented 85% of all overseas arrivals through the period. The three ports of entry (New York-JFK, Miami and Los Angeles) accounted for 36% of all overseas arrivals. New York remained the leading port of entry. Newark jumped from seventh to fifth place, ahead of Chicago and San Francisco. Sanford moved up from thirteenth to twelfth, ahead of Boston. Detroit and Houston remained in fourteenth and fifteenth spots, respectively. http://www.commerce.gov Jan 22, 2005 Top chefs and Olympic athletes to announce New York City's annual Winter Restaurant Week, and a special hospitality industry effort for Tsunami Relief, as they present gold medals and specially prepared meals to Red Cross volunteers and staff, Monday, January 24, 10:30 am, New York Red Cross Headquarters, 150 Amsterdam Ave., between 66th and 67th Streets. During Winter Restaurant Week, January 24-28 and January 31-February 4, nearly 200 restaurants throughout the city are offering dining selections priced at $20.12 in support of the city's efforts to host the 2012 Olympic Games. Jan 21, 2005 In a groundbreaking deal that defuses tension, China and Taiwan have agreed to direct flights between the two countries for the first time in five decades. The accord allows 48 roundtrip charter flights to carry Taiwanese workers in China home and back during the Lunar New Year holiday. The flights will be operated from Jan. 29 to Feb. 20 2005 between the Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou and Taipei and Kaohsiung in Taiwan. However, they will not fly a direct route but will transit Hong Kong airspace. Analysts are mixed in their assessment of the implications of the decision, but most are impressed by the speed at which the agreement was reached. Jan 19, 2005 China still remains a "no no" as far as direct flights to and from Taiwan are concerned. For 50 years it has been impossible to fly non- stop between the two, all flights going via Hong Kong, the arrangement staying in place even with the establishment of the Special Administrative Region. Now things could be changing according to reports. It seems that the Chinese authorities are prepared to allow limited charter flights during the Lunar New Year holiday in February, a precursor to proper scheduled services. The ball is now firmly back in the court of the Taipei government,...
US-Visit, a part of the US Department of Homeland Security, is planning tests of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology at the US land border. The technology will be tested at a simulated port this spring.
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