The travel industry expects the change in policy to produce a surge in international travel to the US
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced that effective June 12, it is lifting the pre-departure COVID-19 testing requirements for all inbound travelers to the US.
The move is expected to create a surge in international inbound travel to the US, which has been in a slump. According to the U.S. Travel Association, eliminating the pre-departure testing requirement could bring an additional 5.4 million visitors to the US and an additional $9 billion in travel spending through the remainder of 2022.
Who is allowed to enter the U.S. without COVID-19 test results?
Since December 2021, all arrivals into the US—including those who are fully vaccinated—have been required to show negative COVID-19 test results taken within 24 hours prior to boarding their flight.
As of June 12, all US-bound travelers will be able to enter the country without showing a negative COVID-19 test result or proof of recovery. The CDC says it will reassess the rule in three months and continue to reevaluate its impact. The agency said it may consider reinstating pre-departure testing if a new variant emerges.
How has the elimination of the testing requirement been received?
The travel industry, which has long been critical of the rule, welcomed the news. In a statement, US Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow said, “Today marks another huge step forward for the recovery of inbound air travel and the return of international travel to the United States.”
The administration had been coming under increasing pressure to drop the pre-departure testing rule, although as recently as the beginning of June, the White House indicated that the policy would continue for the foreseeable future.
At the time, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said, “The pre-departure testing requirement remains in place.” However as other countries around the world dropped COVID-19 measures for arriving international passengers, the US travel industry ramped up its calls for the pre-departure test to be repealed.
Now, according to an administration official, “CDC has determined based on the science and data that this requirement is no longer necessary at this time. We are able to take this step because of the tremendous progress we’ve made in our fight against the virus,” the official added.
“The Biden administration is to be commended for this action,” Dow said. “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.”