Industry associations were welcoming the announcement by the Biden Administration that it was planning on lifting travel restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers with a negative test result prior to travel beginning in November.
Both the U.S. Travel Association and IATA applauded the move, with Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, observing that “the Biden administration’s announcement of a roadmap to reopen air travel to vaccinated individuals from around the world … will help revive the American economy and protect public health.”
Dow pointed out that the move represents “a major turning point in the management of the virus and will accelerate the recovery of the millions of travel-related jobs that have been lost due to international travel restrictions.”
Said Dow: “The U.S. Travel Association expresses its deep appreciation to the President and his advisors – in particular Commerce Secretary Raimondo, who has been a tireless advocate – for working with the industry to develop a plan to restart international travel and safely reconnect America with the world.”
IATA was quick to point out that this supersedes the so-called 212f restrictions which prevented anyone from entering the US if they had been in 33 specific countries including the UK, Ireland, all Schengen countries, Brazil, South Africa, India, and China within the last 14 days.
Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general, described the announcement as “a major step forward,’ observing that: “Allowing access to the US for those vaccinated will open travel to the US for many who have been locked out for the past 18 months. This is excellent news for families and loved ones who have suffered through the heartache and loneliness of separation. It’s good for the millions of livelihoods in the US that depend on global tourism. And it will boost the economic recovery by enabling some key business travel markets,”
Walsh also pointed out that: “This announcement marks a key shift in managing the risks of COVID-19 from blanket considerations at the national level to assessment of individual risk. The next challenge is finding a system to manage the risks for travellers who do not have access to vaccinations. Data points to testing as a solution. But it is also critical that governments accelerate the global rollout of vaccines and agree a global framework for travel where testing resources are focused on unvaccinated travellers.”
And IATA’s director general concluded: “We must get back to a situation where the freedom to travel is available to all.”
The Global Business Travel Association’s CEO, Suzanne Neufang also applauded the U.S.’s decision to relax its travel ban for vaccinated travellers from the 26 Schengen countries, U.K. and Ireland by early November.
Neufang observed that: “Travel bans and quarantines have greatly impacted business travel – a decline in global business travel spending for 2021 is forecast at approximately $550 billion USD, with a decline in the U.S. estimated at $192 billion USD, due to the ongoing pandemic.”
And she noted that: “GBTA has been calling for a framework for re-opening the U.S. to impacted international travellers for months. Today’s announcement is welcome news and a large step forward in re-starting and accelerating the travel industry’s economic engine.”