The U.S. no longer requires inbound air travelers to test negative for COVID-19. The testing mandate is due to end at midnight on Sunday, June 12, 2022.
The move follows calls from the travel and hospitality industries to end the testing mandate, seeing it as a major setback for recovery of the U.S. travel industry despite a huge demand from travelers. The requirement had been in place since January 2021. The mandate required all inbound travelers to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test, regardless of their vaccination status. Other countries, including the U.K., Italy and Germany, have already lifted similar requirements.
“Testing requirements for re-entry into the United States have been a deterrent for many clients considering international destinations for their programs,” sais Beau Ballin, global market leader, CWT Meetings and Events and a member of Prevue’s Editorial Advisory Board. “We expect this change in policy to have an immediate and positive impact and is another sign of recovery from the pandemic.”
“As a global company, testing for reentry was concerning that our team may not be able to return in a timely fashion,” said Nanci Gage, partner, Proton Therapy Partners and a Prevue Advisory Board member. “This requirement being lifted means we can finally resume international projects and travel that we have had to minimize up to this point.”
“Seems the dark overcast skies have opened up and I’m thankful we can move forward in life and business,” added Kimberly M. Bean, event strategist, KBT Creative Support Services, also a Prevue Advisory Board member. “My clients are hosting meetings, conferences, retreats and events at a rapid pace with aggressive plans for Q3 2022 and beyond.”
However, for board member Leslie Zeck, director of meetings at the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) and AADOCR, the challenge is far from over. “This certainly reduces the stress and uncertainty of international travel, but the risks of contracting the virus cannot be overlooked. Having recently returned from attending IMEX in Frankfurt, from which increasing numbers of new COVID cases is reported daily, it is obvious that this virus continues to spread globally and will be an ongoing threat to the health and well-being of meeting attendees. Look at the increases in daily cases in top tourist destinations in the USA! Honestly, who looks forward to being on a flight full of maskless COVID-positive travelers for several hours?”
Nonetheless, the ramifications across the travel industry are huge, and U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow commended the Biden Administration for the move. “Today marks another huge step forward for the recovery of inbound air travel and the return of international travel to the United States,” he said in a written statement. “International inbound travel is vitally important to businesses, and to workers across the country who have struggled to regain losses from this valuable sector.”
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