U.S. Travel Association calls for dropping the vax requirement for visitors

The U.S. Travel Association is urging the Biden administration to repeal the Covid-19 vaccination requirement for international visitors to the U.S.

“We need to eliminate the vaccine requirement,” said U.S. Travel CEO Geoff Freeman during a press conference last week. “This may have been necessary policy during the pandemic. It is not necessary policy today. In fact, the U.S. is the only country in the world that has a vaccine requirement for international visitors.”

Freeman said while U.S. Travel is hopeful that the requirement will be dropped as part of the Biden administration’s ending in May of the Covid-19 public health emergency, there is no reason to wait until then, especially given that potential visitors are planning spring and summer travel now. 

“Why wait till May? We have the power right now to remove this requirement to bring travelers back into the country. And we certainly hope there will be an aggressive effort to do that,” Freeman said.  

Eliminating the vaccine requirement was among three key policy priorities U.S. Travel said last week would enable stronger travel growth. The other two were decreasing visa wait times and reviving inbound travel from China. 

U.S. Travel applauded the January introduction of a bill to end the vaccination requirement for inbound international visitors. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) filed the legislation. 

“The CDC’s unscientific mandate is separating too many people from their families and has been doing so for far too long,” Massie said. “It needs to end.” 

Since April 2022, the CDC has required that non-U.S. citizens (excluding lawful permanent residents or those traveling on an immigrant visa) need to show proof of being fully vaccinated against Covid-19 before traveling by air into the U.S. from a foreign country.

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