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Published on Monday, May 17, 2021

White House urged to reopen international travel






Leaders from nearly two dozen travel companies penned a letter to President Biden urging greater progress toward reopening international travel.


Without quick action, the economic consequences are dire if US borders remain shut.


The letter notes that current science, the success of the US vaccine rollout, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s own guidance allows for steps toward a safe resumption of international visitation.


"While US borders remain closed to much of the world, scientific advancements to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and the tremendous vaccine deployment achieved by your administration have allowed the safe resumption of many activities," the letter says.


"For all its economic and cultural contributions, international travel should be among them and it will hasten the economic recovery."


The letter urges the establishment of a public-private taskforce by the end of May to develop a risk-based, data-driven roadmap.


The letter further states that efforts toward reopening should start by pursuing a 'public health corridor' between the US. and the UK given its importance as a travel market and its similar pace of vaccinations and declining infection rates.


Last week the UK government categorized the US  in the 'amber' middle tier of its new 'traffic light' system for international travel.


The letter also urges the administration to utilize the upcoming G7 summit to seek commitments from other world leaders to implement a global framework for reopening international travel.


"The U.S. must be a global leader in restarting international travel. Using science and data as our guide, it is possible to reopen our borders and establish these important public health corridors."


If nothing is done to lift entry restrictions, the US. is projected to lose an additional $175 billion by the end of this year.


Though domestic leisure travel has recovered quite well, international and business-related travel—which together comprised more than a third of direct travel jobs in the US  in 2019—remain almost completely halted, with a recovery for both expected to take years without significant policy action.

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