ORLANDO — The travel industry will become “aggressive” to stop testing before leaving, US Travel Association CEO Roger Doe told reporters at this year’s IPW conference here.
In addition, he said, the White House Coronavirus Task Force agreed that there was “no” logic for testing.
Dow reported that US Travel executives traveled to the White House last week to meet with the Task Force, and that its members said “science and data do not support the testing requirements.”
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“[The message] now delivered to the White House, and we will continue to apply pressure,” Dow said. “Honestly, in the tourism business we are really good ladies and gentlemen. But on this, we turn up the heat. We will be more aggressive because of this, so many people are out of work, so many people are not coming to America, and there is no logic to it. So you will see how we become more aggressive. We were nice, but now it’s time to make things right.”
Dow began the press conference by saying that he would like to be here to make “another announcement”, referring to the testing requirements. He added that US travel data shows that removing the testing requirement would add 5.4 million visitors in 2022 and $9 billion in spending.
Citing the strength of the U.S. domestic leisure market, which he said has recovered “phenomenally” above 2019 levels, “holes” in the travel recovery that need to be filled include international travel, which fell 80% during the crisis. pandemic.
Other factors impeding inbound travel
It’s not just the testing requirement that deters incoming travelers, Doe said, but also other issues, including historically slow visa processing times, which he called “completely unacceptable.”
The average visa waiting time in some countries has increased to 268 days (Israel), 538 days (Mexico) and 693 days (Colombia).
“Travel is like water,” Doe said. “He will look for the easiest way. If we create difficulties for people, they will find another way. We are really missing an opportunity to rebuild the US economy.”
Dow also noted that other countries with strict travel restrictions are changing the structure of the US inbound home market. Three of the top 10 markets in 2019 — Japan, China and South Korea — are no longer on the list, replaced by Colombia, Spain and Italy.
“Asia has traveled in huge numbers of people and we have to bring them back,” Dow said.
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Dow was far from alone in the travel industry bemoaning the negative impact of the testing requirement on the lucrative international traveler.
“International numbers are still not where we want because we have egregious testing requirements,” said Visit Florida CEO Dana Young. “The Biden administration needs to end this ridiculous testing requirement now if he doesn’t want to further harm inbound travel.”
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