A critical sector of the U.S. travel economy is being left behind, without which we cannot truly recover from the economic devastation of the pandemic: international inbound travel.
More than two dozen trade organizations—representing a diverse swath of the American economy—joined U.S. Travel this week in making an urgent appeal to the federal government to ease international entry restrictions by July 15.
This call to action accompanied the release of a policy blueprint called “A Framework to Safely Lift Entry Restrictions and Restart International Travel,” a document that includes policy principles for finally welcoming international visitors back to the U.S. while keeping health and safety as the top priority.
Some of the guidelines in the policy framework:
- Reserve entry restrictions for only the highest-risk countries.
- Replace all other blanket travel restrictions with a framework of entry protocols based on a country-by-country and individual traveler risk assessment.
- Ensure the framework is easy to understand, communicate and implement.
The science is clear: this can be done safely and quickly. Vaccines have been widely available in the U.S. for weeks, and other low-risk countries like the United Kingdom have some of the highest vaccinations rates in the world. Further, research from the Mayo Clinic shows that the risk of an infected passenger transmitting the virus to another passenger flying from the U.K. to the U.S. is extremely low, at 1 out of 1 million passengers.
The time is now—we simply cannot afford to wait any longer. For each week that travel restrictions remain in place, the U.S. economy is losing $1.5 billion in spending just from Canada, the European Union and the U.K.—enough money to support 10,000 American jobs.
We have made so much extraordinary progress in our fight against the virus. The vaccines have been highly effective—beyond expectation—in helping us to resume our daily lives. But the travel industry, and the broader U.S. economy, cannot fully recover from this crisis without a resumption of international inbound travel. We urge the federal government to recognize this fact—and the evidence that shows we can resume international travel safely—and reopen our borders by July 15.
Copyright 2021 U.S. Travel Association. All rights reserved. From https://www.ustravel.org. By Roger Dow, President and CEO, U.S. Travel Association.