Zane Kerby, President & CEO of the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), issues the following statement in response to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) updated guidance on COVID-19 and Cruise Ship Travel, which no longer recommends that cruise travel be avoided regardless of vaccination status:
“ASTA welcomes the CDC’s action to downgrade its extreme ‘Level 4’ warning against cruise travel, regardless of vaccination status, which we roundly criticized when it was instituted. This level of warning was completely unnecessary given the extraordinarily stringent anti-COVID measures put in place voluntarily by the cruise lines in close consultation with the CDC. We call on the Administration to continue moving toward a consistent, predictable regulatory environment for cruise and broader travel industry stakeholders as COVID moves into the endemic phase.
“There is another shoe to drop, however. In the wake of the omicron variant, the Administration issued the Level 4 cruise warning and a November 26 ban on travelers eight countries in Southern Africa, both of which it has since lifted. It also shortened testing window under the inbound testing rule from 72 hours to within one day of travel. As we argued strenuously earlier this month, this rule needs to be modified to, at least, exempt fully vaccinated U.S. citizens. Doing so would be consistent with the scientific consensus that widespread vaccinations are the single most important element of the fight against COVID-19, while allowing the travel industry’s recovery to begin in earnest. It would also incentivize those who aren’t vaccinated to consider becoming so, restoring an incentive that existed for a mere 28 days between the effective dates of the Administration’s pre- and post-omicron updates to the order.”