Travel Industry Reacts to CDC’s New Air Travel Requirements

Travel Industry Reacts to CDC’s New Air Travel Requirements

The travel industry has been quick to respond to news that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will begin requiring a negative COVID-19 test from all U.S.-bound air passengers starting January 26, praising the strategy as a key safety measure but expressing concern that the mandate could further hinder travel and ultimately delay the industry’s recovery.

In a statement issued Tuesday evening, U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes said that a testing requirement should be met with the removal of travel restrictions and quarantine mandates.

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“We appreciate the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s announcement of a COVID-19 testing requirement for inbound international travelers. A testing requirement provides yet another layer of safety for international travel and should be accompanied by other risk-based policies—including lifting international inbound travel restrictions and dropping any post-arrival quarantine requirements,” said Barnes.

“With an international testing requirement in place, international visitors and returning residents would be tested at much higher rates than the general public and pose a much lower risk of transmitting the disease. So it would make sense to lift international travel restrictions and quarantine requirements at the same time,” she added. “With a risk-based, layered approach to health and safety throughout every aspect of travel, it’s possible to both protect public health and allow travel to safely resume.”

Jemica Archer of TruBlue Travels said that she’s “absolutely floored that this measure is taking place so quickly” and predicts it will be “detrimental” to travel businesses.

“We were just starting to get a rebound for 2021 travel. I’ve started receiving emails from clients about canceling or their concerns about not being able to get back into the country. I think it will be detrimental to the travel industry. Based on this news, I expect to see more cancellations and probably not to see my business recover in 2021,” she added.

Meanwhile, VIP Vacations Inc’s Ryan Doncsecz called the CDC’s latest effort a “major hurdle and possibly one final devastating blow to travel agencies,” forecasting that an “already vastly reduced clientele will be shrunk once again.”

“To help save our industry, the CDC has now called out the tourism boards from other countries to help initiate a plan on how to help effectively roll out testing in these destinations that already may face difficulty in administering and processing tests. Hopefully, our resort partners will see the need to offer an in destination test as well, but I in no way expect others to continue to pick up extra bills previously not associated with their hotel offerings,” said Doncsecz, who remains cautiously optimistic.

“I’m very worried about the outcome of this but hope a continued stance of solidarity amongst travel professionals expressing their worries for not only their careers but the economic livelihood of so many travel-related jobs, combined with the backing of ASTA and other major corporations can help the CDC see just how negatively this is going to impact so many around the world,” he concluded.





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