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US Lifts COVID Testing Requirements for International Travel

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Following the intense lobbying by the airlines and the travel industry in the United States, the Biden administration is slated to lift its requirement that international air travelers test negative for COVID-19 within a day of departing for the US.

The regulation, which has been in place since January 2021, will reportedly be nixed effective midnight Sunday morning (June 12) after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined it was no longer necessary, the outlets reported, citing anonymous administration officials.

“Today marks another huge step forward for the recovery of inbound air travel and the return of international travel to the United States. The Biden administration is to be commended for this action, which will welcome back visitors from around the world and accelerate the recovery of the U.S. travel industry. International inbound travel is vitally important to businesses and workers across the country who have struggled to regain losses from this valuable sector. More than half of international travelers in a recent survey pointed to the pre-departure testing requirement as a major deterrent for inbound travel to the U.S. Prior to the pandemic, travel was one of our nation’s largest industry exports. The lifting of this requirement will enable the industry to lead the way toward a broader U.S. economic and jobs recovery," said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow.

"Lifting this policy will help encourage and restore air travel to the United States, benefiting communities across the country that rely heavily on travel and tourism to support their local economies. We are eager to welcome the millions of travelers who are ready to come to the U.S. for vacation, business and reunions with loved ones. We look forward to continuing to work with the Administration to prioritize the safety and wellbeing of the traveling public and to ensure that air travel policies are guided by science," said Airlines for America (A4A) President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio.

American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) President & CEO Chip Rogers said, “Today’s announcement is a significant win for hotels and the broader travel industry. AHLA consistently called on the Administration and Congress to lift this testing requirement, which was out of date and had a chilling effect on inbound international travel to the U.S. Lifting the requirement will make travel easier, facilitating more international visitors and helping hotels continue on the road to recovery, especially as we approach peak travel season this summer.

“Thank you to the Biden Administration for lifting the requirement, and to Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Rick Scott (R-Fla.) for their leadership in pushing for this critical change.”

Gus Antorcha, president, Holland America Line said, The CDC ending its requirement of a negative COVID-19 test for Americans to reenter the United States is an important step forward in the return to all global travel, including cruising. The change means that U.S. travelers can pursue their love of cruising Holland America Line voyages from homeports in Europe, Canada and Australia without concern they could be denied entry to return home.

“This is exciting news for Holland America Line and our guests as we complete our return to service this week with all 11 ships in our fleet back in operations. It removes a barrier to travel for some guests who understandably wanted to avoid the uncertainty of return testing. At Holland America Line, we continue to operate vaccinated cruises and have created a safe and healthy environment for our guests, our teams, and the communities we serve, helping to ensure cruising is among the safest forms of socializing and travel. And we continue to offer our Worry-Free Promise to allow flexible cancelation for cruises booked by September and departing through December.”

An official who spoke to CNN said that while the requirement is being lifted, the policy will be reviewed every 90 days to determine if it needs to be reinstated.

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