Man checks COVID-19 test results on mobile phone (photo via SDI Productions / Getty Images)
The U.S. Travel Association continues to call on the government to eliminate pre-departure testing for travelers to the United States.
The association is backing up its request with solid data that shows how this testing requirement is deterring travelers and preventing the recovery of the travel industry.
The survey, conducted by Morning Consult, polled vaccinated international travelers in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Japan and India.
Nearly half of respondents (47 percent) who are unlikely to travel abroad in the next 12 months cited pre-departure testing requirements as a reason they would not visit the U.S.
More than half of international travelers (54 percent) said the added uncertainty of potentially having to cancel a trip due to U.S. pre-departure testing requirements would have a big impact on their likelihood to visit the U.S.
Additionally, a large majority of adults surveyed (71 percent) agreed they prioritize traveling to destinations without cumbersome entry requirements, including 29 percent who strongly agree.
There is still time, according to the U.S. Travel Association, to save the summer travel season.
The survey found that Forty-six percent of international travelers would be more likely to visit the United States if pre-departure testing requirements for vaccinated adults were lifted.
Even at this point in the summer travel planning season, an increase of just 20 percent more visitors this summer than we are otherwise expecting, it would mean an additional half a million visitors each month and $2 billion in valuable U.S. travel exports. That spending could support approximately 40,000 U.S. jobs.
“Before the pandemic, travel was the second-largest U.S. industry export and generated a positive trade balance of $53 billion,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “Inbound travel is critical to reducing the overall trade deficit, but the pre-departure testing requirement remains an unnecessary hurdle to regaining visitors and competing for global tourism dollars.
“While other countries with similar cases, vaccination and hospital rates have removed their testing requirements and have begun rebuilding their travel economies, the U.S. is at a competitive disadvantage and risks a prolonged period of recovery,” Dow added.
The U.S. Travel Association pointed out that there is an abundance of health and safety tools in place and that nearly all other sectors of the U.S. economy—including domestic air travel—are operating without a federal requirement for testing.
More than 260 travel and business organizations called on the Biden Administration to eliminate the testing requirement last week.