The Impact of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative on U.S Travel to Mexico

Student Author(s)

Matthew Webb

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Sarah Estelle

Document Type


Event Date



On June 1, 2009 the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) imposed new regulations on travel across U.S borders. These regulations required that all individuals crossing the U.S-Canada and U.S-Mexico borders present a valid passport or other accepted documentation. These requirements may discourage cross-border travel due to the additional monetary and time costs of obtaining a passport, increased border wait times, or intimidation due to the impression of increased security at the border. Studies find that the regulations of the WHTI caused a significant decline in travel across the U.S-Canada border (Bradbury, 2012), however no such study has examined the U.S-Mexico border. For decades, U.S residents have traveled to Mexico in greater numbers than to any other country (OTTI, 2015). Disruption of these travel flows may have extensive negative economic implications for the Mexican tourism industry. This paper employs data from the U.S Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) to test the hypothesis that the WHTI caused a decrease in U.S citizens’ demand for travel to Mexico, other factors held constant.

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