In advance of new regulations requiring all travelers entering the U.S. to have a passport, the Travel Industry Association has launched a new Web site to ease the process of getting one.

“Our intent with this Web site is to educate the traveling public on the new regulations and to provide one-stop shopping for information on how to get a passport,” stated Roger Dow, president at TIA in a press conference held December 11. Only 27 percent of Americans and about 40 percent of Canadians have passports, said Dow. “It’s one thing to have the legislation,” he added. “Now we have to get the word out.”

As part of Congress’s Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), all travelers coming into the U.S.--including those from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, as well as Americans returning home from those nations--will be required to have a passport. The regulations go into effect for air travelers on January 23, 2007. Travelers entering the U.S. by land and sea, will need passports by June 2009 at the latest.

The new Web site includes plain-language information about WHTI as well as where citizens of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico can get information about and applications for their respective passports. It is intended to supplement efforts by the U.S. Departments of State and Homeland Security to inform travelers about the new rules.

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