Under the updated guidelines, fully vaccinated travelers will no longer be tested before or after travel unless it is mandatory at their destination.
The tourism industry welcomed the news.
We are on the brink of the biggest boom in tourism history, and the latest news from the CDC may catapult us into the next chapter after COVID in the U.S., said Konrad Valiszewski, CEO and co-founder of Tripscout. In the Tripscout app, we see more trips planned for this summer than for the last 12 months combined. The demand is so great, and science shows that vaccinated travelers can safely satisfy their wanderlust.
Mike McCormick, co-founder and CEO of Travel Again, joined in and thanked everyone who worked hard to make this moment possible.
Today, we reached a very important milestone, not only for the travel industry in the U.S., but also for travelers and our dedicated healthcare providers and government employees, McCormick said.
He also asked the industry for a roadmap for a safe reopening.
But the work isn’t done yet, McCormick said. It is now important that we build on this success by continuing to work together to develop a roadmap for the full and safe resumption of domestic and international travel. Traveller confidence is beginning to recover from the historically low levels at the start of the pandemic, but remains one of the main obstacles to the recovery of tourist activity. Clear guidance for travellers and tools for travel providers to support the process can help build traveller confidence and get them back on track. This can only be achieved if the government and the tourism industry work closely together in a true public-private partnership to develop and implement these plans.
ASTA also welcomed the new CDC guidelines, but called for further action and a comprehensive framework for their renewal.
Eben Peck, executive vice president of advocacy for the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), stated: We welcome the CDC’s new policy that fully vaccinated Americans can resume domestic travel without additional testing or quarantine, which we have always called for. For more than a year, the various CDC orders to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) have sown confusion and uncertainty among travelers, deterred future bookings, and caused a host of other problems for our travel agency members. We are pleased that there is movement in the right direction.
Peck asked the CDC to do more.
Since the CDC has found that fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to contract and spread COVID-19, logic dictates that other rules should also be relaxed, including restrictions on cruises and a rule requiring Americans returning from abroad to be tested for COVID-19 before returning home, he said. At a minimum, we urge the CDC to take these reasonable steps and publish a framework for reopening travel so that advisors and their clients can plan with confidence and continue to work on systems to determine vaccination, immunity, or negative test results so that international travel can resume in earnest.
Scott Lara of Cruise Genius also welcomed the news from the CDC, but noted that travelers still need to be tested before they can return to the United States.
While the latest news from the CDC is encouraging, my understanding is that tourists returning from abroad will still need to take a COVID test to enter the US. Many all-inclusive resorts abroad conduct free COVID antigen tests to meet CDC requirements, he added. Finally, I am confident that the Biden administration will require vaccinations for travelers abroad.
The American Travel Association welcomed the news from the CDC, saying it will help the tourism industry recover from a devastating year.
The CDC’s new travel guide is an important step in the right direction, backed by science and slowing down an industry hit hardest by the fallout from COVID, said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the American Travel Association. When travel comes back, so do American jobs.
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