Traveler with a COVID-19 rapid test at the airport. (photo via nito100 / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
The United States will lift coronavirus testing requirements for international travelers entering the country.
U.S. President Joe Biden and his administration announced on Friday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would no longer require travelers arriving at American airports from other countries to present a negative COVID-19 test.
The rule change will go into effect on Sunday, June 12 at midnight.
The decision comes after constant pressure from companies and officials within the travel industry, which suggested the coronavirus protocols were outdated and causing international travel to remain depressed.
As part of the rule changes, the CDC will reassess the decision in 90 days.
Airlines for America chief Nick Calio told CNN that outdated testing requirements were “having a chilling effect on an already fragile economy.” Government officials from both sides of the aisle have supported the lifting of testing on arriving international travelers.
Last week, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee held a hearing on “Reviving Conventions & Tourism Through International Travel.” Before the event, the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) president and CEO Zane Kerby highlighted that one of the key issues to reviving travel in the U.S. is eliminating pre-departure testing.
In addition, more than three dozen U.S. mayors, representing a nationwide cross-section of cities and counties, sent a letter to the Biden Administration asking for the removal of the pre-departure COVID testing.
U.S. Travel Association CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement on the Biden administration’s announcement:
“Today marks another huge step forward for the recovery of inbound air travel and the return of international travel to the United States. The Biden administration is to be commended for this action, which will welcome back visitors from around the world and accelerate the recovery of the U.S. travel industry.
“International inbound travel is vitally important to businesses and workers across the country who have struggled to regain losses from this valuable sector. More than half of international travelers in a recent survey pointed to the pre-departure testing requirement as a major deterrent for inbound travel to the U.S.
“Prior to the pandemic, travel was one of our nation’s largest industry exports. The lifting of this requirement will enable the industry to lead the way toward a broader U.S. economic and jobs recovery.
“A new analysis found that repealing the pre-departure testing requirement could bring an additional 5.4 million visitors to the U.S. and an additional $9 billion in travel spending through the remainder of 2022.
“U.S. Travel and our partners advocated tirelessly for months to ensure this requirement would be lifted, pointing to the monumental scientific advancements that have made it possible for us to reach this point. We thank President Biden, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Dr. Ashish Jha and others in the administration for recognizing the immense economic power of travel and its ability to reconnect the U.S. with the global community.”
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