The White House assistant press secretary Kevin Munoz has confirmed the United States’ new travel policy that requires vaccination for foreign national travellers to the US will begin on 8 November. The date applies to both international air travel and land travel and is part of a policy guided by public health, he said.
Under the new rules announced by the White House, vaccinated people who have had a negative test in the 72 hours before travelling will be allowed to enter. The move marks the end of the tough restrictions on travellers that have been in place since early last year.
Vaccines considered acceptable are those approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or that have an Emergency Use Listing from the World Health Organisation (WHO). This now means that those vaccinated with the AstraZeneca, Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines are now able to enter the country.
American officials had said earlier this week that land borders between Canada and Mexico would be open to travellers who were fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Proof of vaccination will be required if selected for random screening.
Initial reaction in the hard pressed international travel trade has been positive, with Clive Wratten, CEO of the Business Travel Association in the UK, saying: “Today’s confirmation that US borders will re-open to fully vaccinated travellers on 8 November is excellent news for British business.
“With over £200bn (US$274.8bn) in annual trade between our two countries, the US has been an integral part of so many UK business travel itineraries.
“The re-start of this vital corridor will pay huge dividends for both economies, and businesses on both sides of the Atlantic, and is another important step on the road to recovery for the business travel sector.
“We now urge both Governments to work together to simplify the testing procedures currently required for UK-US travel, to ensure it is as frictionless as possible.”
Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, also described the US Government’s confirmation “welcome news and finally allows consumers and businesses to book travel with confidence. The US has been our heartland for more than 37 years and we are simply not Virgin without the Atlantic. We’ve been steadily ramping up flying to destinations such as New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and we can’t wait to fly our customers safely to their favourite US cities, on holiday or to reconnect with friends, loved ones and colleagues.
“As the UK forges its recovery from the pandemic, the reopening of the transatlantic corridor and the lifting of Presidential Order 212F acknowledges the great progress both nations have made in rolling out successful vaccine programmes. The UK will now be able to strengthen ties with our most important economic partner, the US, boosting trade and tourism as well as reuniting friends, families and business colleagues. We are thankful to Prime Minister Johnson and the UK Government, the Biden administration and our industry partners for their support in removing these barriers and allowing free travel between our countries to resume.”
The IMEX team was clearly delighted by the travel news from the US, issuing a statement: “We’re absolutely delighted that the US is easing travel restrictions from across the world into America from 8 November. This gives the green light to hundreds more global buyers, exhibitors and industry professionals to come to Las Vegas for IMEX America which is open until 11 November. We’re thrilled by the news.
“We know there is huge, pent-up demand among business event professionals to reconnect face to face and to use IMEX America as a platform to kickstart US and global business and plan ahead for 2022.
“This decision is a massive morale booster for the industry. More importantly, it increases momentum for the US economy and its labor market and for the international travel sector in general.
“We look forward to giving the global business events community the homecoming it deserves and, as it’s the 10th edition of IMEX America, it’s set to be a very special reunion. All we can say now is….roll on 8 November!
IMEX America takes place 9–11 November at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas with Smart Monday, powered by MPI, on 8 November. To register – for free – click here. For more details about accommodation options and to book, click here.