Travel groups urge White House drop Covid test rule

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More than 260 travel industry and business organizations have signed a letter calling for an urgent repeal of the pre-departure inbound testing requirement.
More than 260 travel industry and business organizations have signed a letter calling for an urgent repeal of the pre-departure inbound testing requirement. Photo Credit: Andrea Izzotti/Shutterstock.com

The push by travel groups to end pre-departure inbound testing continues, with more than 260 travel industry and business organizations on Thursday signing a letter to the White House calling for an urgent repeal of the requirement.

The letter, from a host of major airlines, hotel groups, travel industry associations and convention and visitors bureaus to Covid-19 response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha, calls for the testing requirement to be dropped for vaccinated international air travelers.

"Stronger immunity provided by vaccinations, boosters and prior infections, as well as effective treatments to prevent the worst outcomes of Covid-19, have enabled Americans to safely return to work, schools and normal activities -- all without the need for indoor masks, frequent testing and physical distancing," the letter says. "These factors strongly support the elimination of the pre-departure testing requirement for vaccinated international air travelers."

The letter is the latest in an industrywide campaign to drop the testing requirement. Among its signees are American, Delta and United Airlines; Carnival Corp.; Disney and Universal; Expedia Group; Hilton, Hyatt, IHG and Marriott hotels; and MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment.

The letter notes that international travel spending was still down "a staggering 78% compared to 2019." It also points to the many foreign governments with similar infection, vaccination and hospitalization rates that have eliminated pre-departure testing requirements for vaccinated travelers, including the United Kingdom, Germany and Canada. 

"Further, since the federal government does not require negative tests for entry at our land-border ports of entry with Canada and Mexico, it no longer makes sense to keep a pre-departure Covid-19 testing requirement in place for vaccinated inbound international air travelers to the U.S.," the letter said.

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