Airlines and travel organizations were cheered by the Biden administration’s decision to lift the COVID-19 testing requirement for U.S.-bound air travelers, The Hill reported.
As of Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will no longer require U.S.-bound travelers to show a negative COVID test. The agency cited the widespread availability of vaccines and treatments as reasons for lifting the measure.
The U.S. Travel Association released an analysis indicating the move could increase travel spending by an additional $9 billion, helping rebound an industry hit hard by the COVID pandemic.
“Today marks another huge step forward for the recovery of inbound air travel and the return of international travel to the United States,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow, according to FTN News.
“The Biden administration is to be commended for this action, which will welcome back visitors from around the world and accelerate the recovery of the U.S. travel industry.”
Airlines for America President Nicholas Calio praised tourism’s benefits to local economies.
“Lifting this policy will help encourage and restore air travel to the United States, benefiting communities across the country that rely heavily on travel and tourism to support their local economies,” Calio said. “We are eager to welcome the millions of travelers who are ready to come to the U.S. for vacation, business, and reunions with loved ones.”
The news comes as President Joe Biden has slowly facilitated the easing of pandemic rules amid a growing consensus that the COVID virus will remain endemic.
During an interview with The Washington Post in April, White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said the U.S. was “in a transitional phase, from a deceleration of the numbers into hopefully a more controlled phase and endemicity.”
Court rulings have also helped the case of the travel industry. U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle ruled in Florida on April 18 that the federal airline mask mandate exceeded the CDC’s authority, leading airlines to remove the requirement soon after.