Bridgetown---Oct. 4, 2006--- Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, secretary general for the 32-member Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), compared the recent decision by the U.S. government to amend the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative to “a category 6 hurricane” for the Caribbean region.  The amendment delays the implementation of the new passport requirements until June 1, 2009 for land crossings at the Mexican and Canadian borders and for cruise passengers coming to the U.S. from the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada or Bermuda but still requires all U.S. citizens traveling by air to these regions to have a passport by Jan. 8, 2007.

Mr. Vanderpool-Wallace’s comments are as follows:

“Needless to say, the affected Caribbean nations are extremely disappointed with this outcome because the potential economic impact on their business could be catastrophic.  We understand that some of those affected destinations will be making their own statements and taking some specific action on this matter.

It is incomprehensible that the United States Government would approve an amendment that excludes air arrivals from the Caribbean and thereby grant an additional advantage to cruise lines in the Caribbean who already enjoy a significant competitive advantage especially in light of the fact that the cruise lines supported the inclusion of air arrivals also.  We know that all of the affected Governments made their own representation through several diplomatic channels as recently as last Wednesday prior to the final vote of this Bill.  Because of the potential far ranging effect of this action, there is nothing potentially more devastating.  This is a category 6 hurricane.”

The Caribbean Tourism Organization

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), with headquarters in Barbados and marketing operations in New York, London and Toronto, is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency and comprises membership of over 30 governments and a myriad of private sector entities.
The CTO’s mission is to provide to and through its members, the services and information needed for the development of sustainable tourism for the economic and social benefit of the Caribbean people.
The organization provides specialized support and technical assistance to member countries in the areas of marketing, human resource development, research and statistics, information technology and sustainable tourism development.  The CTO disseminates information on behalf of its member governments to consumers and the travel trade.

CTO’s New York office is located at 80 Broad Street, 32nd Floor, New York, NY 10004, USA; Tel: (212) 635-9530; Fax: (212) 635-9511; E-mail:  CTO’s London office is located at 22 The Quadrant, Richmond, Surrey TW9 1BP, England. Tel: 011 44 208 948 0057; Fax: 011 44 208 948 0067; E-mail:; CTO Canada is located at 2 Bloor Street West, Suite 2601, Toronto, Ontario M4W 3E2, Canada. Tel: (416) 935 0767; Fax: (416) 935 0939. E-mail CTO Headquarters is located at One Financial Place, Collymore Rock, St. Michael, Barbados; Tel: (246) 427-5242; Fax: (246) 429-3065; E-mail:  For more information, please visit or