Travel industry leaders met with White House officials on Tuesday, urging the Biden administration to discontinue its demand that immunized international tourists take a coronavirus test before traveling to the US.
Airlines for America, which represents major US airlines, and the US Travel Association, which represents the whole travel and tourism business, both stated that the requirement does not correspond to the existing threat posed by Covid-19. They further claim that the mandate is detrimental to 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 CEO Nick Calio said in a statement following the meeting.
While many other firms have had their restrictions eased, the travel industry, according to Roger Dow of the US Travel Association, “remains disproportionately harmed by this requirement.”
“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,” Dow said.
Airlines for America said its members, which include American Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Delta Air Lines, feel that removing the restrictions will encourage more foreign visitors to visit the US. Domestic travel had returned to 7 percentage points of pre-pandemic levels by mid-May, but overseas travel was 14 percent below average.
For months, the sector has blasted the regulation as outdated.