Major travel-related organizations are urging the Biden administration to lift COVID restrictions, limits and regulations, which are stifling the $2 trillion+ tourism business in the United States.
The action comes just a day after the CDC announced fresh recommendations relaxing several of the COVID restrictions and regulations implemented in the aftermath of the infection. As a result of the new guidance, 70 per cent of the country is now free of restrictions.
On planes, however, this is not the case.
The federal mask rule won’t be debated again until March 18. Still, the United States Travel Association, the American Hotel and Lodging Association, Airlines for America, and the United States Chamber of Commerce request that mask-wearing and other critical limitations be repealed.
In a letter to White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients, the group urges the Biden administration to replace pandemic-era travel advisories, requirements, and restrictions. Instead, these should be replaced with endemic-focused policies that allow travel to resume fully and safely while also speeding up the recovery of the American economy.
The associations presented statistics to support their request. These showed that corporate travel spending was almost 50 per cent lower than 2019 levels, while international travel spending was down a stunning 78 per cent compared to 2019.
“Given travel’s slow economic recovery, and in light of the improved public health metrics in the U.S. and medical advancements to prevent the worst outcomes of COVID-19, the Biden administration should now take steps to normalize travel conditions,” the group wrote. They added that this included repealing the pre-departure testing requirement for vaccinated inbound air travelers and the federal mask mandate for public transportation.
The group posed the following questions:
- Remove the necessity for all fully vaccinated inbound overseas travellers to undergo pre-departure testing.
- By March 18, the Administration must repeal the federal mask mandate for public transit networks or provide a clear roadmap for its removal within 90 days.
- Stop issuing “Avoid Travel” advice and using travel bans.
- Collaborate with other countries to standardize travel and admission rules.
- Develop benchmarks and timetables for a road to the new normal that includes eliminating pandemic-related travel restrictions by June 1.
- Send a strong message to the American public and the rest of the globe that it is safe to travel again, especially for those vaccinated.
“This industry group remains ready to assist the Biden administration in advancing these necessary endemic-era policies and restoring the U.S. travel economy,” according to the letter.
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) announced earlier this week that they are working together to help the travel industry recover and urge for the relaxing of travel restrictions wherever possible.
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