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Tired of Waiting, Travel Industry Calls on White House to Loosen Travel Restrictions

Over 20 travel groups, including the U.S. Travel Association and Airlines for America, is giving the White House a deadline on working together to reopen the travel industry. In a jointly-signed letter, the group is asking for solutions to open up borders and activate international travel by May 1, 2021.

A group of over 20 travel stakeholders are demanding the White House work with them to reduce international travel restrictions and reopen travel across borders. The Associated Press reports the collective is asking virus-response coordinator Jeffrey Zients to “partner” with them by May 1, 2021.

Group Asks for Clearance for Vaccinated Flyers, Removal of International Restrictions

The letter was signed by a number of business and travel leaders, including Airlines for America, the U.S. Travel Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Among their demands, they would like those who have already received the COVID-19 vaccine to be exempt from testing prior to arriving in the United States, as well as a public statement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control declaring vaccinated travelers safe to fly.

“The risk of COVID-19 transmission while flying is low. Vaccination rates and immunity are increasing rapidly throughout the U.S. The burden of the virus on our nation’s public health system is decreasing,” the letter reads. “Travel-related businesses, such as airlines, airports, hotels, car rental and black car providers have invested heavily to put the right protections and strategies in place to mitigate risk. We are ready to welcome back travelers and keep them safe.”

While the group specifies that they are not advocating for the “removal or easing of core public health protections,” they are instead asking the federal government to work with them to determine the appropriate level of eased restrictions. They are asking the government to help them “a risk-based, data-driven roadmap to rescind inbound international travel restrictions” by May 1, 2021.

Their request comes as more flyers are taking to airports, while vaccines continue to be distributed across the United States. According to data from the Transportation Security Administration, the agency has screened more than 1 million flyers daily since March 11, 2021, but are still off the 2.5 million average from 2019. At the same time, the CDC notes that nearly 83 million Americans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, yet only 13.7 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.

2021 Travel Restrictions Could Make or Break Industry

Even though more people are taking the vaccine, the timing of when borders open up and restrictions end could determine the trajectory of the travel industry in 2021. A recent estimate by Airports Council International-North America suggests airports and related businesses could stand to lose up to $44 billion unless the U.S.-Canada border is reopened this year.

cscasi March 25, 2021

What good will it do for the USA to relax the International Restrictions? Europe, Asia just about everywhere else still has all theirs in force. I want to fly to Europe for a vacation, too. However, I want to ensure it is safe to do so and as is shown time and time again, the number of people becoming infected with COVID keeps creeping back up. I fear it will be another year before things begin to get back to normal for flying internationally and even within some parts of the United States and Canada.


For the vaccinated, go for it. All based on probability which is much lower if vaccinated. FORGET ALL POSSIBLE ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS which only pop up in our hypersensitive environment.

edgewood49 March 24, 2021

This is a prime example of "special interest" over the safety of people. AJNEDC is absolutely correct this virus right now is a moving target and we have not gotten our hands around it. Then there is the EU and its lame management who can not even get out of their way when it comes to vaccination of it citizens and now their answer is to bar export of vaccines to GB who along with Israel has the most effective vaccination plan to date. Do I care about the aviation industry of course I do and my tax dollars are being sent there so they can shore of their financials.

cyclefanatic83 March 24, 2021

I'm sure you mean 83 MILLION Americans have received at least one dose. (next to last graf). And, sorry industry.... masks don't mean the risk of transmission is low; as the linked story actually says: “The use of face masks is critically important throughout the air travel process,” the study reads, “because it DIMINISHES the release of infectious particles into the environment. Reducing the transmission from the source of infection, or ‘source control,’ provides an important layer of protection against COVID-19 for air travelers.”

health1au March 24, 2021

Only 83 have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine? Well, that's better than 82. Let's try for 100 before April!!!