U.S. Travel: Biden Must Remove Pre-Departure Test Requirement Now

Senior leaders from the U.S. Travel Association and Airlines for America on Tuesday afternoon had a meeting at the White House where they once again stressed the need for the Biden Administration to end the pre-departure testing requirement for inbound vaccinated air travelers.

Following the meeting, U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement: “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.

“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to soar, the administration can take an immediate step in jolting America’s recovery efforts by repealing this outdated requirement.

U.S. Travel has repeatedly called on Biden to repeal the test requirement, most recently gathering 260-plus travel industry and business organizations to sign onto a letter to White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha. Similarly, American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) executive vice president for advocacy Eben Peck called the regulation “the single biggest barrier to the full recovery of the international travel system.”

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) said the 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. If the removal of the pre-departure testing requirement would bring an increase of just 20 percent more visitors this summer than officials currently expect, according to U.S. Travel’s research, it would mean an additional half a million visitors each month and $2 billion in valuable U.S. travel exports.

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