American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) President and CEO Zane Kerby issues the following statement in advance of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee hearing on “Reviving Conventions & Tourism Through International Travel”:
“As Senators gather to discuss ways to restore international travel, we want to highlight the number one barrier to our industry’s recovery – the inbound testing order. This order has little to no impact on COVID rates at home, while the economic damage it causes grows by the day. Determined travelers have and will find a way around ill-conceived systems, and the costs to citizens and those visiting the United States far outweigh the benefits. It’s time for the U.S. to match our closest trading partners on this front, start managing the virus and let travel-reliant businesses recover from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The November 2021 shortening of the testing window from 72 hours to one day prior has only exacerbated these challenges. In fact, according to a recent survey of ASTA members, 83 percent of trip cancelations are occurring because of the U.S. COVID-19 testing requirement. At present, this is the number one cause for client trip cancelations according to travel advisors.
“A growing number of countries, including the United States’ biggest trading partners and outbound travel markers, have recently moved in the direction of removing the pre-departure test requirement for the fully vaccinated, including the United Kingdom, the European Union, Canada, and Australia. Exempting fully vaccinated U.S. citizens from the order is a way to appropriately strike that balance consistent with the Administration’s stated desire for ‘an air travel policy that relies primarily on vaccination to advance the safe resumption of international air travel to the United States.’”