Skift Take

This is probably not the focus of the White House right now given what is playing out on the global stage but it will be interesting to see how the Biden administration responds to these frustrated groups of travel lobbyists.

The major lobby groups for U.S. tourism, hotels and airlines are asking the Biden administration to drop stricter Covid travel guidelines and adopt rules that are more endemic-focused, coming a day after the Centers for Disease Control on Friday loosened nearly all of its indoor mask restrictions.

The U.S. Travel Association, the American Hotel and Lodging Association, Airlines for America and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said in a letter to White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients: “Given travel’s slow economic recovery, and in light of the improved public health metrics in the U.S. and medical advancements to prevent the worst outcomes of Covid-19, we encourage the Administration to immediately remove travel requirements that no longer fit with the current environment and to set clear timelines and metrics for when
others will be lifted.”

The groups felt the travel industry may have been unfairly left out of the full recovery that other U.S. industries saw in 2021, pointing out that business travel spending was 50 percent below 2019 levels and that international travel spending was down a 78 percent compared to 2019.

Among the specific reccommendations being made by the groups:

— Remove pre-departure testing requirement for all fully vaccinated inbound international arrivals.

— Repeal the federal mask mandate for public transportation networks or provide a clear roadmap to remove the mask mandate within 90 days, starting March 18.

— End “Avoid Travel” advisories and the use of travel bans.

— Send a clear message to the American public and the world that it is safe to travel again, particularly for vaccinated individuals.

The White House offered no response so far on the letter from the groups.

The full letter is below:

Tags: covid-19, tourism, travel restrictions, white house