TRAVEL INDUSTRY LEADERS (USTA) are continuing their press of federal officials and the Biden Administration to end pre-departure testing for COVID-19 by vaccinated international air travelers bound for the U.S. This time they went directly to the White House.
On May 24, representatives from the U.S. Travel Association and Airlines for America met at the White House to make their case that pre-departure testing is no longer required at this stage in the pandemic. USTA and other organizations have been lobbying the White House persistently for the past few months to take the step, and in May they sent a letter to White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha saying the requirement is discouraging international travelers.
Roger Dow, USTA president and CEO, reiterated that point after last week’s meeting.
“It is long past time for the Biden administration to remove the pre-departure testing requirement for vaccinated air travelers to the U.S. While nearly all other U.S. industries are operating without restrictions, the travel industry remains disproportionately harmed by this requirement, even though the science no longer supports it,” Dow said. “Other countries with whom we directly compete for global travelers have removed their pre-departure testing requirements and reopened their tourism economies, putting the U.S. at a serious competitive disadvantage for export dollars. Further, since the federal government does not require negative tests for entry at our land-border ports of entry with Canada and Mexico, it no longer makes sense to keep the requirement in place for vaccinated international air travelers to the U.S. While inflation continues to soar, the administration can take an immediate step in jolting America’s recovery efforts by repealing this outdated requirement.
According to a recent survey conducted for U.S. Travel of vaccinated international travelers in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Japan and India, more than half, 54 percent, of international travelers polled said the added uncertainty of potentially having to cancel a trip due to U.S. pre-departure testing requirements would have a negative impact on their likelihood to visit the U.S.