The International Air Transport Authority (IATA) has welcomed the US decision to allow fully immunized international travelers to enter the country more than a year after they were banned, especially European citizens. The organization said this is excellent news for families who have been separated and for businesses that depend on tourism.
“Today’s announcement is a major step forward. Allowing entry into the United States for those vaccinated will open up travel to the United States for many who have been denied entry for 18 months,” said Willie Walsh, Director of the International Air Transport Association.
The next task, he noted, is to create a system for travelers who cannot get vaccinated. Walsh also noted that it is imperative for governments to simultaneously accelerate vaccination campaigns and agree to a global travel framework that encourages imposing testing requirements on unvaccinated travelers, TheSchengen.com reports.
Moreover, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) also commented on the lifting of restrictions that affected millions of travelers, saying it is welcome news for the entire travel and tourism industry.
Julia Simpson, CEO of WTTC, noted that the move would allow families to be reunited, business travelers to attend their meetings in person again, and the travel and tourism industry to save economies as it did during pre-pandemic levels.
The director of the WTTC noted that “visitors from the European Union to the United States contributed more than $35 billion to the economy in 2019, and visitors to the United Kingdom more than $11 billion, demonstrating how important this step is to the country’s economy.”
According to WTTC research, reopening the US to Europeans could generate about $198 million per day for the country’s economy.
The comments were made after the White House announced on September 20 that travel bans on arrivals from the European Union, the United Kingdom, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil, were no longer in effect. Although the decision was announced, a specific date has not yet been announced, but the official source from the White House revealed that the decision will go into effect in early November.
Millions of travelers have been waiting for this move, as it has barred travelers from entering the United States since March 2020. Meanwhile, President Biden has come under pressure from several cases, such as organizations, business owners, EU commissioners and even the head of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
Furthermore, once the decision goes into effect, foreign travelers can enter the United States by presenting a certificate of vaccination and a negative PCR test that is performed 72 hours before arrival in the country. On the other hand, US citizens returning home are required to submit a negative test that was taken 24 hours before arriving in the country and prove that they purchased another test to take on arrival.