US tourists likely to stay home due to passport rule


Tourist-related businesses expect a quieter summer, especially along the Canada-U.S. border with the new passport rule.

Stricter U.S. regulations came into effect Monday, requiring everyone entering the United States to carry a passport — including returning Americans.

Some U.S. tourists interviewed in Niagara Falls, Ontario, said they would likely not be returning soon, as they don’t have a passport and wouldn’t pay to get one.

A survey showed that while about 60 percent of Canadians have passports, only 20 percent of Americans do.

The new rules are part of the tighter security measures under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative started by former President George W. Bush’s administration in 2005.

However, when asked about it during a speaking engagement in Toronto last week, Bush said: “I thought we were making good progress on using a driver’s license to cross the border. What happened to the easy-pass card?”

Former President Bill Clinton, appearing with Bush, said it could mean “far fewer Americans” would visit Canada, which would be “bad for the economy and our relationship.”

The four other acceptable border crossing cards, including Nexus and enhanced driver’s licenses, aren’t widely available.