DALLAS — Tourism and airline groups are working together to get rid of the requirement that international travelers submit a negative COVID-19 test before they board a U.S. bound plane.
They feel that the testing rule discourages people from booking international travel. They point out the United Kingdom , which has eliminated a similar rule.
Airlines for America, the largest national carriers, wrote Wednesday to the White House coronavirus policy advisor, urging it to eliminate the requirement for testing.
These groups claimed that testing is unnecessary due to the high number COVID-19 cases in each state, the higher vaccination rates and the new treatment options for the virus.
They wrote that “Removing this requirement will greatly assist the recovery of travel, aviation in the United States and worldwide without increasing the spread COVID-19 or its variants.”
The White House did no immediate respond to a request for comment.
Gleichzeitig hath one of the largest tourism-industry organizations stated it is seeking tax breaks to conventions and trade shows. It believes this will help revitalize business travel.
The U.S. has seen a recovery in domestic leisure travel, but international and business travel have not recovered fully. According to the U.S. Travel Association, travel spending has fallen by $730 billion over the past year. Many jobs have not returned.
The United Kingdom removed a requirement that travelers must be vaccinated before they can board a flight to the United Kingdom. According to travel groups, the Biden administration should also ease existing U.S. rules. This would encourage international flying.
Tori Emerson Barnes is the executive vice president of the association for travel. She said that people hesitate to book international trips if they are concerned about being stranded or unable to return home if the person tests positive for the virus.
Officials in the industry also noted that there was an increase in airline bookings following the U.S.’s November elimination of country-specific travel bans. They predict that the same thing will occur if the U.S. eliminates its pre-departure testing requirement.
Flights within the U.S. are exempt from the testing rule
According to government figures, COVID-19 increases due to new viruses have played a greater role in dissuading travel than testing requirements.
The number of people travelling to, from, or within the United States rose each month, starting at a low point in April 2020. This was before the arrival of the delta variant.
The recovery was briefly reestablished, but then it stalled in December, and then went backwards in January.
Airlines for America reported that its member airlines had 38% less international passengers in January than the same time period in 2019. The U.S.-China travel between the two countries is still at 2% of prepandemic levels.
Separately, the U.S. Travel Association leaders stated that they are in contact with members of Congress to discuss tax changes that would increase business travel.
This group calls for a 50% tax credit for organizers and sponsors who incur costs for trade shows and conventions. The House has rejected a bill that contained the idea almost a year after it was introduced.
Many large conferences have had to be canceled or moved online since the pandemic. Some also offer in-person and online options. Barnes, a travel association official, stated that event organizers and small business owners need incentives to hold in-person events again and have business meetings.
A break was also lost in the 2017 tax-cut legislation that President Donald Trump and Congress (led by Republicans) approved. The law removed the 50% deduction for business expenses considered entertainment.