The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this weekend will end negative Covid-19 test requirements for inbound passengers to the US, according to multiple reports citing senior Biden administration officials.
The requirement for all inbound travelers to present a negative Covid-19 test taken within a day of travel will be lifted after midnight on Sunday, June 12, as first reported by CNN on Friday. The CDC will take a second look at the decision in three months to see whether the requirement should be reinstated, such as if an aggressive new Covid-19 variant has arisen, according to the report.
The move comes after a heavy push from the travel industry to end the requirement. US Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow called it a “huge step forward for the recovery of inbound air travel and the return of international travel,” noting the repeal could boost inbound travel throughout the rest of this year by 5.4 million visitors and $9 billion in spending.
Testing requirements already have been largely removed for entry into most of Europe, depending on a passenger’s vaccination status. Business Travel Association CEO Clive Wratten said he hoped the United States’ decision to follow suit would “be a clarion call for all countries to remove the remaining restrictions and encourage international travel once more.”
The CDC still requires most noncitizen visitors to show proof of vaccination in order to board an international flight into the US
The industry reacted to the lifting of testing requirements:
US Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow:
“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 US economic and jobs recovery.”
United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby:
“Thank you to the administration for the announcement. This is another important step, not just for air travel, but also for all the tourism jobs that international travel supports. United Airlines has planned for this moment and will be the largest airline flying customers across the Atlantic Ocean this summer with approximately 25 percent more seats than we flew across the Atlantic pre-pandemic.”
Morning Consult travel and hospitality analyst Lindsey Roeschke:
“Up to this point, overseas visitation numbers have remained low compared to pre-pandemic times. Among American travelers, domestic trips have far outpaced international in recovery, and while Morning Consult data from the end of May did show a five-point increase in Those planning to travel internationally in the coming year, this is still lower than levels measured in 2021. Testing requirements have factored into these numbers: 39 percent of Americans say testing requirements make them less willing to travel internationally.”
Global Business Travel Association CEO Suzanne Neufang:
“Americans have been unwilling to take the chance of being unable to return to the US at the end of their business trip or vacation. This will also help to ensure we create an easy path forward for international travelers to return to the US for business, conferences, and meetings. We’ve made progress in returning to life and business and cannot afford to go backwards.”
World Travel & Tourism Council president and CEO Julia Simpson
“The long-term recovery of US travel and tourism now looks positive, with our projections showing that a fully recovered sector will create more than 6 million new jobs over the next 10 years. But short-term, the measure caused untold damage to an already devastated sector as international visitor spending has been so low over the past two years.”