by Morton D. Rosenbaum | June 01, 2005
A recent proposal from the Department of Homeland Security requiring U.S. citizens to carry passports when flying home from Canada has some tourism officials up in arms. The plan would take effect Jan. 1, 2007.
    Americans currently need only a photo ID to travel, by any means, to and from Canada. By 2008, per the proposal, a passport will be necessary even for those driving through border crossings. The measure also applies to travel to and from Bermuda, the Caribbean and South America.
Passport    “This proposal will disrupt the travel, tourism and hospitality trade on both sides of the border,” said Tony Pollard, president of the Ottawa, Ontario-based Hotel Association of Canada. 
    Scott Allison, vice president of sales and marketing, Marriott Hotels of Canada, noted that only about 20 percent of Americans hold passports and predicted meeting planners “will ask themselves, ‘Who knows how many of our members have passports or how long it will take for them to get one? It makes more sense to book in Atlanta or Scottsdale.’”
    On the planner side, however, Jim Ihler, director of marketing programs for Columbia, Mo.-based Shelter Insurance Companies, said if attendees don’t have their papers for a meeting in Canada, “We’ll just say to them, ‘Hey, you need to get a passport.’”
    The controversial measure will undergo several months of scrutiny prior to becoming law.