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NTA Supports Progress in Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative

September 1, 2005

NTA Supports Progress in Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative
September 1, 2005 The National Tour Association is encouraged but not fully satisfied with the first steps taken in amending the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. The measure was proposed for public comment today by the Department of Homeland Security. While the proposed changes represent a partial victory, the association will continue to press for further clarification on this issue.


The initiative would require U.S. citizens, Canadians, citizens of the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda and citizens of Mexico to have a passport to enter or reenter the United States. The Dec. 31, 2005 deadline for compliance by the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda and the Caribbean has been pushed back. DHS is now proposing a two-phase implementation, where passports will be required for air and sea travel to or from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda by Dec. 31, 2006. The requirement also will be extended to all land border crossings by Dec. 31, 2007.


"There is no question the tour and travel industry has gained some important issue ground here. The immediate calamities were averted," NTA Legislative Counsel Jim Santini said. "However, for those involved in international/cross border Western Hemisphere travel, more challenges remain. If we collectively tackle these remaining issues through our efforts with the Passport Coalition, I am confident we also can succeed in the future regulatory arena."


NTA plans to submit written comment on the proposed rules. The association will continue to push for an extension of the deadlines and to lower passport fees for students and seniors to a maximum of $50.


"We are pleased that the Dec. 2005 deadline has been pushed back, as this would have created major problems for the cruise industry and caused confusion for the traveling public, "NTA President Hank Phillips, CTP, said. "We will continue to challenge the passport requirements and hope that the administration will continue to listen to the industry and reconsider the dates suggested in this two-phase proposal."


The National Tour Association has nearly 4,000 tourism professional members from 28 countries involved in the growth and development of the packaged travel industry. Its membership includes tour operators – group, independent, inbound and outbound – and the destinations and suppliers that partner with them. The association is committed to providing business results and information to its members, while offering a collaborative, caring environment in which to build relationships. For more information, please visit



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