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National Tour Association Applauds Final Ruling on Land and Sea Rules

March 31, 2008



Sara Morton




March 31, 2008


National Tour Association Applauds Final Ruling on Land and Sea Rules

WHTI Implementation Set for June 2009


LEXINGTON, Ky.The National Tour Association applauds the final rule for the land and sea portion of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative as announced by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of State last week. The rule requires citizens of the United States to have a passport when entering the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda by land or sea by June 1, 2009.


This announcement follows a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued in June 2007 and legislation passed in December 2007 that set the June 1, 2009, implementation date. At that time, NTA voiced its concern about a hasty implementation of WHTI and supported the provisions proposed for student and youth travel and cruising.


"One of NTA’s chief concerns regarding WHTI has been making sure the traveling public has time to prepare. We believe there must be sufficient outreach to the public about these new passport requirements," said NTA Public Affairs Advocate Steve Richer, CTP. "We are encouraged that the final rule allows 14 months for educating the public and allows them ample time to obtain a WHTI-compliant document. We hope this also will give the State Department time to prepare for the issuing of passports to meet this requirement in a timely manner."


Richer added, "This is another example underscoring the need for a travel and tourism executive in the White House. This position would work with all of the federal departments to ensure rules such as this consider the impact on travel. NTA plans to work with the Department of State, and our members and sister organizations in Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean to ensure WTHI is implemented in a timely and fair manner."


According to a release issued by the departments, public information campaigns will be initiated to inform U.S. and Canadian citizens about the new document requirements. NTA will work with its members to educate them and help them inform their clients as well.


DHS also reports that special provisions for school groups and other groups of children ages 18 and under will be made, allowing U.S. or Canadian citizens to enter the United States with proof of citizenship alone. Additionally, U.S. citizens on cruises that begin and end at the same port in the United States will be able to enter or depart the country with proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate and government-issued photo ID.


"We hope that the June 2009 implementation will enable a smooth transition, and we are encouraged that the departments will conduct public information campaigns," said Richer. "Additionally, the exceptions made for cruise vacations and youth travelers are provisions the association has been fighting for since WHTI was first announced in 2005. We are pleased the departments took the travel industry’s concerns into consideration."


The National Tour Association was established in 1951 as a unified voice to fight legislation in the newly formed packaged travel industry. Today, NTA’s government relations activities include monitoring security issues, as well as state and federal legislation and regulatory issues affecting the travel and tourism industry. NTA maintains full-time representation in Washington, D.C., to serve as the association’s voice on Capitol Hill. Additionally, NTA empowers its members to be advocates for the association on the local level, as well as to provide support for NTA’s positions on national priority issues through its Grassroots Action Network. For more information on NTA’s government relations activities, please visit


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