Roger Dow, president and CEO of the Travel Industry Association (TIA), told a Senate Subcommittee on Oversight that successful implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) would require a sustained communications campaign to explain changing travel document requirements for entering the United States by land or sea.
Dow warned of summer travel delays and lost revenue if action was not taken and stressed the economic importance of the U.S.-Canada border. He urged passage of the Travel Promotion Act (S. 1661 / H.R. 3232), currently pending before Congress and said the legislation provides a consistent and sustainable vehicle for communicating security changes to travelers.
"The confusion and frustration that the impending implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative has created for American and Canadian travelers should serve as a lesson learned for the entire United States government," said Dow. "With the introduction of all new security procedures, communication is as important as the policy itself. Without a nationally coordinated travel promotion program that utilizes the best minds of the private sector, the United States is failing the communications test."
More than 40 million Canadians visit the United States annually and a mere five percent decline in Canadian travel could cost the United States economy more than $700 million. The Travel Promotion Act establishes a public-private promotion campaign—at no cost to the American taxpayer—to improve communications. Visit www.tia.org.