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White House urged to set timeline for international travel reopening

A broader economic recovery will stall if we can’t get travel off the ground

  • Travel and tourism is the industry hardest hit by the economic fallout of COVID-19
  • The White House urged to develop a risk-based, data-driven roadmap to rescind inbound international travel restrictions
  • Controlling the pandemic must remain a top priority

Leaders of the U.S. travel and aviation industry called on the Biden administration Monday to set a May 1 deadline to commit to a plan for reopening the country to inbound international visitation.

The U.S. Travel Association is among the 26 organizations to sign a letter urging the White House “to partner with us to develop… a risk-based, data-driven roadmap to rescind inbound international travel restrictions.”

“Travel and tourism is the industry hardest hit by the economic fallout of COVID, and the damage is so severe that a broader economic recovery will stall if we can’t get travel off the ground,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “Fortunately, enough progress has been made on the health front that a rebound for domestic leisure travel looks possible this year, but that alone won’t get the job done. A full travel recovery will depend on reopening international markets, and we must also contend with the challenge of reviving business travel.”

The industry letter to the White House notes that 2020 international arrivals to the U.S. fell 62% from Mexico versus the previous year, 77% from Canada, and a whopping 81% from overseas markets—for a total loss to the U.S. economy of $146 billion last year.

The significant decline in that travel segment is a big reason why travel’s total economic output in the U.S. declined by more than a trillion dollars in 2020, with 5.6 million travel-supported jobs lost—65% of all U.S. jobs lost last year.