COVID testing: Travel industry and airlines want White House to end testing requirements

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That’s what the leaders in the travel industry are saying The US has a “serious competitive disadvantage for export dollars” versus global travelers due to the Biden government‘s Covid-19 pre-flight testing requirements for international travelers. They were last week Intensification demands that it be abolished because “science no longer supports it”.

The policy has been in effect since January 2021, when President Biden signed an executive order on Covid-19 safety for travel on his first day in office. Other countries that have taken such measures have since dropped the requirement for vaccinated travelers. and the US does not require those crossing the land border to provide one.

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The travel industry is “disproportionately damaged” by the obligation to test.

“While almost all other US industries are operating without restrictions, the travel industry remains disproportionately hurt by this requirement. although the science no longer supports it,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the US Travel Association, in a statement. He and other group leaders are meeting at the White House with officials from the Biden administration, as well as leaders from Airlines for America, who represent major US airlines.

They were there to urge government officials to drop the 16-month-old requirement for travelers to be tested for Covid-19 before boarding international flights to the United States, regardless of vaccination status. They claim the measure will limit the recovery in international travel.

Pre-flight Covid-19 test depresses international travel

“The only impact pre-departure testing requirements are having is a deterrent effect on an already fragile economy here in the US,” Airlines for America chief Nick Calio said in a separate statement.

A survey conducted by Morning Consult for the US Travel Association and released in May showed that the requirement has a major impact on the likelihood of travelers visiting the United States this summer. Over half of international respondents, 54 percent, said the potential cancellation of a trip due to pre-departure testing requirements weighed on their travel decisions. However, 46 percent would be more likely to travel to the US if there were no mandatory testing for vaccinated adults.

The US Travel Association said if just 20 percent more visitors came this summer, that would mean half a million additional visitors every month. They would add $2 billion a month to the economy and support over 40,000 jobs across the US this summer.

The US could drop testing requirements soon, but there’s no word yet

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, speaking at a Crain’s Chicago business event in May, said testing requirements for international travelers won’t last forever. But he added that it will be up to the CDC to be confident “that easing would not hurt the progress we’ve made” in bringing the virus under control.

The US does not currently require those entering the US via its land borders to present a negative Covid-19 test. That’s why the Boston Red Sox flew to Toronto for their game against the Blue Jays at the end of April, but took a two-hour bus ride to Buffalo, New York to catch a domestic flight home. The Blue Jays did the same to avoid one of their players being left behind due to a positive Covid-19 test as they traveled to Fenway Park for their series.

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