Monday, June 19, 2006

Border Crossing Takes Less Than Ten Minutes, No Passport Required, Says Easy Crossing Council

Border Crossing Takes Less Than Ten Minutes, No Passport Required, Says Easy Crossing Council
Report reveals misconceptions about delays and passport requirements by U.S.
Citizens at Canadian/U.S. Border Crossings

NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario, Aug. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- In a report prepared to
combat negative perceptions held by American residents over border delays and
the notion passports are now a requirement to enter Canada, the Easy Crossing
Council (ECC) tabled findings today which indicate there are minimal to no
delays being experienced by vehicles entering Canada at Niagara's border
crossings.
The report states a typical crossing into Canada takes less than ten
minutes and that there are no delays being experienced for cars crossing
Niagara's three bridges for visitors (The Peace Bridge, The Rainbow Bridge and
the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge) 90% of the time. The report also reinforced
that passports are not a requirement for U.S. citizens entering Canada or
returning to the U.S.
The Easy Crossing Council was formed to combat misconceptions about cross
border travel between Canada and the United States along the Niagara frontier
and consists of five organizations including: The Buffalo and Fort Erie Peace
Bridge Authority, The Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, The Niagara Parks
Commission, The Niagara Falls Chamber of Commerce, Casino Niagara and Niagara
Fallsview Casino Resort.
"Concerns about the border have created a decline in U.S. visitors to
Canada, and Canadians into the U.S. so we're working hard to dispel
misconceptions," said Tom Garlock, General Manager of the Niagara Falls Bridge
Commission, operators of the Queenston-Lewiston and Rainbow Bridges. "The
fact is, in nearly all cases you can cross the border between Canada and the
U.S. in less than ten minutes," he added.
"We're getting out there with accurate information," said Steve
Wolstenholme, General Manager of Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort. "The border
is a non-issue and there's lots for people to see and do here in Niagara
Falls. Worries about the border and passports shouldn't deter Americans from
visiting this summer."
"Longer delays during peak periods are no different than traveling on
Interstate and 400-series highways during peak periods," said Ron Rienas,
General Manager with the Buffalo and Fort Erie Peace Bridge Authority.
"Both U.S. and Canadian citizens base their perceptions of border
congestion on information they have heard immediately following incidents such
as the tragic events of 9/11 and SARs," said Joel Noden, Senior Director with
the Niagara Parks Commission. "This new report should help convince our
citizens that crossing the border is quicker and easier than most people
think."
Compounding the concerns over border delays is a U.S. Department of State
proposal, announced this spring, that would require U.S. citizens and foreign
nationals to present appropriate security identification when entering the
U.S. This requirement is posted on the U.S. Department of State website.
Publicity surrounding this proposal has led many Americans and Canadians to
believe that there is a passport requirement for cross border travel.
"Neither American or Canadian citizens need a passport to cross the border
or return home and it isn't likely that they will," said Carolyn Bones,
President of the Niagara Falls Chamber of Commerce. "When the President of
the United States voices concerns on a passport requirement and calls for a
more flexible approach, it sends a pretty strong signal," she added.
Recent Statistics Canada figures indicate that day trips to Canada in May
'05 have fallen to the third lowest level in 30 years. Canadians also took
fewer trips to the U.S. with Canadian travel falling to 3.1 million trips in
May, down 0.4% compared to April.
U.S. visitors to Ontario dropped 9% over last May to 1.6 million. The
decline accounts for both same-day and overnight visitors. For the first five
months of 2005, the number of Americans visiting Ontario fell 8% over the same
period in 2004 and 12% over the same time in 2003 at the height of the SARS
outbreak.
The Easy Crossing Council's mandate is to correct the misconceptions of
Americans and Canadians living within a day's drive of Niagara with facts
about the ease of crossing the border and to reinforce Niagara Falls, Canada
as an accessible and fun destination.
The ECC has adopted the slogan "No Passport/Few Delays" and are launching
a media campaign, including advertising, information cards, a border crossing
tip sheet, sponsorships and media outreach to communicate its message with
residents in the U.S. border states adjacent to Ontario: Michigan, Ohio,
Pennsylvania and New York.
To download a copy of the ECC Report of the report please visit
http://www.oeb.com/ecc_report

To view The ECC's print ad please visit http://www.oeb.com/ecc_ad

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

101 Elliott Ave. W.
Seattle, WA 98119
(206) 448-8000

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