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Travel industry calls on White House to end Covid-19 testing requirement for overseas visitors

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One man signs in to a Covid-19 test site at Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles, California. This was December 22nd 2021.

Frederic J. AFP | AFP | Getty Images

Biden’s administration is under increasing pressure from travel and hospitality executives to remove the requirement for anyone traveling into the U.S. to submit a negative Covid-19 screening before departing. They claim that the rule discourages visitors and harms the country’s tourism industry.

After similar pandemic restrictions have been lifted in other countries, such as Italy and Greece, the United Kingdom has given the green light to this push.

Travelers who fly into the United States must still show evidence of positive Covid-19 tests, no matter their citizenship or status. Proof of recovery from Covid can be presented by people. Japan, South Korea, and Japan require that travelers submit negative Covid tests.

CNBC reported that Tony Capuano from Marriott stated in a statement, “Pre-departure testing is a source of uncertainty. It may cause travelers to make a decision about a destination without as much friction.” The U.S. would be left out of the game if these barriers are not removed.

Nearly forty U.S. Mayors, including those from San Francisco, sent Dr. Ashish Jha a request to remove the Covid-19 requirement this week. According to the letter, American cities still struggle to gain international visitors.

Jha met also with executives from the travel industry last week. However, they did not get any timeline as to when that might be.

After the meeting, Tori Barnes of the U.S. Travel Association stated to CNBC that they were unable “to cite when predeparture tests will be lifted”.

The White House didn’t respond to our request for comment.

Jon Bortz (CEO of Pebblebrook Hotel Trust), stated, “Predeparture Testing is keeping international travelers from bookings for a trip the U.S.” He also owns 54 hotels in the country.

Glenn Fogel is the CEO of World’s Largest Online Travel Operator. Booking HoldingsAccording to him, the requirement for passing tests is driving people to travel abroad. In some other instances, he said people find ways to get around it.

Fogel also stated that there are instances when people fly into Canada or Mexico in order to bypass the restriction.

Jamie Rollo, a Morgan Stanley analyst, wrote Wednesday that testing requirements are becoming more concerning to cruise passengers, as they worry about getting stuck on ships testing positive.

Keith Barr, InterContinental Hotels Group CEO, voiced frustration at the testing requirements in his country on Tuesday’s CNBC “Closing Bell”.

He said, “It’s not in step with the rest”

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