Travel professionals and travelers mark the end of U.S. testing for incoming international travelers

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) — Hawaii travel and tourism sector officials are celebrating President Biden’s decision to lift the COVID testing requirement for passengers traveling to the United States.

The testing changes will take effect on Sunday and will come into effect during the busy summer tourist season.

“This is amazing news,” said April Cheng, owner of TravelChic World Hawaii.

“Only the hurdles of getting tested the day before entering the US for international travelers, whether or not they are vaccinated, has been a huge worry when traveling to the US.”

Travel industry officials say they are already seeing strong visitor arrivals in Hawaii but are encouraged by the potential for international travel to recover. In April, out-of-state visitor numbers were up about 67% year-over-year, driven by domestic travel.

Japan, meanwhile, is also easing travel restrictions.

They now allow visitors as long as they are part of an organized tour group. Japan stopped allowing travel in 2020 and worked to bring back visitors last year. It is said that tours are now accepted from 98 countries and regions.

Cheng said the lifting of US testing requirements would make a big difference for international travelers.

And she should know.

She recently traveled to Canada with her family and they tested positive there. Air Canada continued to deny her boarding after the five-day quarantine ended, she said.

She said that the travel headache cost her quite a bit.

“For people who may not be financially able to extend their travel due to these quarantine rules, even if they are vaccinated, it just starts to make no sense,” Cheng said.

In announcing the end of the testing rule on Friday, the US said the mandate could be returned if needed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they would reconsider the decision in about 90 days.

For more information from the CDC click here.

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