US pre-testing impediment

AMERICA’S continued insistence on pre-travel COVID-19 testing for international inbound visitors arriving by air is threatening the recovery of the country’s tourism industry, with the issue a major lobbying focus for the sector in Washington DC.

Speaking at the 53rd annual IPW trade show in Orlando today, outgoing US Travel Association (USTA) President Roger Dow described the inbound testing measure as an “illogical, unnecessary hurdle”.

“Many countries have eliminated testing…we have to follow very quickly,” he said, adding that the measure was a “tremendous deterrent to travel”.

He cited recent USTA research of vaccinated international travellers in six key markets in which more than half of all respondents said the added uncertainty had “caused them to cancel a trip or have a negative impact, while 71% of those surveyed said they prioritised travel to destinations without cumbersome requirements”.

Recent efforts have included a letter to the White House signed by more than 260 key travel and tourism suppliers urging the lifting of the testing measure (TD 03 Jun), with Dow adding that “we’re now turning up the heat on this issue”.

Removing pre-departure testing in the near future is estimated to add another nine million international arrivals and billions in visitor spending in 2022, Dow told delegates at IPW.

“We are hopeful of a decision in the near future,” he said.

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