The US Travel Association continues to campaign for the elimination of pre-departure testing for inbound and returning visitors to the US.
Airlines for America, representing major US air carriers, and the US Travel Association, representing the broad travel and tourism industry, said they argued the requirement does not match the current threat from Covid-19. They also say the requirement is harming the US economy.
“Quite frankly, the only impact the pre-departure testing requirement is having is a chilling effect on an already fragile economy here in the U.S.,” Airlines for America chief Nick Calio said in a statement after the meeting.
In a statement, U.S. Travel president and CEO Roger Dow stated that the United States was one of the few nations that still had these restrictions in place.
“It is long past time for the Biden administration to remove the pre-departure testing requirement for vaccinated air travelers to the U.S.,” said Dow. “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 also mentioned the pre-departure testing requirement’s impact on the economic recovery of the nation.
“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,” he said.
“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to soar, the administration can take an immediate step in jolting America’s recovery efforts by repealing this outdated requirement,” he added.
Airlines for America said its members, which include American Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines, believe lifting the restrictions will encourage more international visitors to come to the United States.
Domestic travel had returned to 7 percentage points of pre-pandemic levels by mid-May, while overseas travel was 14 percent below average.
For months, the industry has called the regulation outdated.