Bipartisan Group Targets Biggest Barrier to Full Recovery of International Travel System
Alexandria, VA – The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) is praising yesterday’s push by a bipartisan group of 16 Members of Congress led by Representative Lou Correa (D-CA) to exempt vaccinated travelers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) inbound testing order.
“While we understand the rationale behind the inbound testing order when it was put in place in January 2021, it continues to present a number of challenges to our constituents…whose livelihoods depend on a fully functioning international travel system,” the Members wrote in an April 11 letter to President Biden. “As we enter the third year of the pandemic and reflect on how far the science related to COVID-19 mitigation has advanced since the order was first put in place, we respectfully request that fully vaccinated travelers be exempted from the order…Exempting fully vaccinated travelers, including almost 215 million Americans, from the order 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.”
“We commend Congressman Correa and all of his colleagues who signed onto this important letter for recognizing that the CDC’s pre-departure testing rule is the single biggest barrier to the full recovery of the international travel system on which so many of their constituents in the travel industry rely,” said Eben Peck, ASTA’s Executive Vice President for Advocacy. “Making the commonsense change these legislators are calling for is widely supported by stakeholders throughout the industry and would match changes our main outbound markets have recently made, including the U.K., EU, Canada and Australia. It would also supercharge the recovery of the travel agency business, as some of the the more than 215 million Americans who have been putting off international travel because of this rule call their travel advisor and get ready to go.”
ASTA worked closely with Rep. Correa’s office to gather signatures for the letter to President Biden over the past few weeks, with the following Members of Congress signing on to yesterday’s letter – Reps. Maria Salazar (R-FL), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Ken Buck (R-CO), Jim Costa (D-CA), Harold Rogers (R-KY), Congressional Travel & Tourism Caucus Co-Chair Dina Titus (D-NV), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Susie Lee (D-NV), Caucus Co-Chair Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Carlos Gimenez (R-FL), John Katko (R-NY), Mark Amodei (R-NV), David Valadao (R-CA) and Larry Bucshon (R-IN).
Over the past few months, ASTA has petitioned the White House directly for this change, has worked toward the same as part of a broad-ranging coalition and has acted as a thought leader on the topic to raise awareness of the inbound testing order’s negative impact on the travel industry.