Leaders of 23 global travel companies this week sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging more progress toward reopening international travel, as is successfully happening elsewhere in the world, and warning of dire economic consequences if U.S. borders remain shut.
The letter, which was issues by the U.S. Travel Association (USTA), noted that current science, the success of the U.S. vaccine rollout, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s own guidance allows for steps toward a safe resumption of international visitation.
“While U.S. borders remain closed to much of the world, the remarkable scientific advancements to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and the tremendous vaccine deployment achieved by your administration have allowed the safe resumption of many activities,” the letter said. “For all its economic and cultural contributions, international travel should be among them and it will hasten the economic recovery we all desire.”
The letter calls for the establishment of a public-private taskforce by the end of May to develop a risk-based, data-driven roadmap for safely reopening international travel to the U.S.
The travel leader also suggested that efforts should start by pursuing a “public health corridor” between the U.S. and the United Kingdom (U.K.), given its importance as a travel market and its similar pace of vaccinations and declining infection rates.
“The U.S. must be a global leader in restarting international travel,” the letter added. “Using science and data as our guide, it is possible to reopen our borders and establish these important public health corridors.”
Earlier this month, Airport Council International-North America (ACI-NA) also pushed the Biden Administration to safely restore international air travel, including resumption of flights between the U.S and U.K, as well as between the U.S. and Canada.
“Reopening international borders is not as easy as flipping on a light switch,” said Kevin Burke, ACI-NA president and CEO. “We must continue working together to help ensure the economic health of air travel once the pandemic subsides.”