A coalition of 24 travel industry associations have come together to introduce a blueprint for reopening the U.S. to international travel.
The “Framework to Safely Lift Entry Restrictions and Restart International Travel” is a blueprint that identifies policy principles for finally welcoming international visitors back to the United States while keeping health and safety as the top priority.
“The travel industry agrees that being guided by the science is absolutely the correct approach, and the science has been telling us for some time that it’s possible to begin to safely reopen international travel,” said U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow. “Our document continues to prioritize safety while providing a roadmap for solving for the billions of dollars in economic damage resulting from the continued restrictions on crossing our borders, in particular from allied countries with similar vaccination rates. We have the knowledge and the tools we need to restart international travel safely, and it is past time that we use them.”
Dow noted that domestic travel has rebounded and is leading the way in the recovery but that domestic alone cannot restore the economy. In a press conference, Dow highlighted how important international travel is to the economy.
“The U.S. economy is losing $1.5 billion and 10,000 jobs per week,” he said.
Airlines for America is one of the signatures to the plan and said the blueprint is a safe way to reopen.
“U.S. airlines have been—and continue to be—strong advocates for a risk-based, data-driven approach to safely resuming international travel as laid out in the blueprint,” said Airlines for America President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. “We have leaned into science throughout this crisis, and research has consistently determined the risk of transmission onboard aircraft is very low. In fact, the Harvard Aviation Public Health Initiative concluded that being on an airplane is as safe if not safer than routine activities such as eating in a restaurant or going to the grocery store. The science is clear—it is time, if not past time, for the U.S. Government to take action and reopen travel between the U.S. and low-risk countries.”
Some of the highlights of the plan include:
—Restrict travel to countries with high safety and low risk.
—Replace all other blanket travel restrictions with a framework of entry protocols based on a country-by-country and individual traveler risk assessment.
—Ensure the framework is easy to understand, communicate and implement.
The coalition paper also calls for moving swiftly on reopening with specific steps that include lifting the travel restrictions between the U.S. and the U.K., allowing fully vaccinated individuals from non-high-risk countries expedited entry to the U.S. and easing restrictions starting on July 15, 2021.
“Restrictions on international travel are no longer what is protecting us from outbreaks of the virus,” Dow said. “In that vein, the travel industry continues to urge everyone who is eligible to receive a vaccine—they have been effective beyond expectation, and they are what is going to allow our lives to go fully back to normal and put this pandemic in the rearview mirror for good.”
Signatories to the blueprint include: Airlines for America; Airports Council International-North America; the Aeronautical Repair Station Association; the Aerospace Industries Association; the American Association of Airport Executives; the American Gaming Association; the American Hotel and Lodging Association; the American Society of Travel Advisors; American Tours International, LLC; the Cargo Airline Association; the General Aviation Manufacturers Association; the Global Business Travel Association; the International Air Transport Association; the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions; the International Franchise Association; the International Inbound Travel Association; the National Air Carrier Association; the National Restaurant Association; RTCA; the Regional Air Cargo Carriers Association; the Regional Airline Association; The Travel Technology Association; and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.