A group of 24 trade organisations is asking the US government to reopen to international travel within the next two weeks, in accordance with a policy of restricting travel only from the countries with the highest risk of Covid-19 transmission.
The coalition—which includes the Global Business Travel Association, the International Air Transport Association, the American Hotel & Lodging Association and several other organisations representing the travel and business communities—is asking the government to ease restrictions by 15 July, when it said the US will have achieved "widespread immunity and sustained declines in infections and hospitalisations."
Among the immediate steps for which the coalition is asking is opening travel between the United States and the United Kingdom. The group cited Mayo Clinic research that showed the likelihood of a person infected with Covid-19 boarding a flight from the UK to the US was about one in 10,000. They also said fully vaccinated travelers from non-high-risk countries, including the members of the European Union, should be able to enter the United States without having to take a Covid-19 test.
The group estimates that travel restrictions to travellers from Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union alone is costing the US economy about $1.5 billion in spending each week.
"The health risk is becoming more minimal, but the economic cost of doing nothing is staggering," US Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow said in a media call on Wednesday
The request comes as the United Kingdom appears to be on track to loosening many of its lockdown restrictions later this month, including ending face covering requirements and reopening nightclubs, even as cases there rise because of the delta variant. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the country will "have to learn to live with the virus".
Dow said he would like to see the US take a similar attitude and be a leader in loosening international travel restrictions and acknowledge that "zero tolerance" policies are not realistic goals.
"We're well aware of the various variants the remain in some quarters, but these can be addressed safely," Dow said. "The delta variant is already present here. Travel restrictions are not what is helping contain the virus. It's all the other things we are doing."