Leaders in the travel and aviation industries in the United States sent a letter to the Biden administration to come up with a plan to reopen international travel.

Twenty-six organizations signed the letter, including the U.S. Travel Association, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, and the American Society of Travel Advisors, “to partner with us to develop… a risk-based, data-driven roadmap to rescind inbound international travel restrictions.”

“Travel and tourism is the industry hardest hit by the economic fallout of COVID, and the damage is so severe that a broader economic recovery will stall if we can’t get travel off the ground,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “Fortunately, enough progress has been made on the health front that a rebound for domestic leisure travel looks possible this year, but that alone won’t get the job done. A full travel recovery will depend on reopening international markets, and we must also contend with the challenge of reviving business travel.”

The letter said that 2020 international travel to the United States fell 62 percent from Mexico (from 2019), 77 percent from Canada, and 81 percent from other overseas countries. The losses cost the U.S. economy $146 billion in 2020. The U.S. also lost 5.6 million travel-supported jobs — which was 65 percent of all jobs lost in 2020.

According to the U.S. Travel Association, 1.1 million jobs will not be restored if nothing is done to lift international travel bans.

The letter is asking for inbound travel to the United States to safely resume by July 4, 2021, which they hope will resume 40 percent of travel for the rest of 2021 compared to 2019 levels. If that is possible, they believe it would add $30 billion in incremental spending and bringing back 225,000 American jobs.

“To be clear, at this time, we do not support removal or easing of core public health protections, such as the universal mask mandate, inbound international testing requirement, physical distancing or other measures that have made travel safer and reduced transmission of the virus,” the letter states. “However, the data and science demonstrate that the right public health measures are now in place to effectively mitigate risk and allow for the safe removal of entry restrictions.”

“We are ready to welcome back travelers and keep them safe. And the time to plan for and chart a defined roadmap to reopen international travel is now.”

The letter was signed by:

  • Aerospace Industries Association
  • Airlines for America Airports Council International – North America
  • American Association of Airport Executives
  • American Hotel & Lodging Association
  • American Society of Travel Advisors
  • Association of Flight Attendants – CWA Bizly
  • Coalition of Airline Pilots Association
  • Global Business Travel Association
  • International Air Transport Association
  • International Association of Airport Executives
  • National Air Carrier Association
  • National Air Transportation Association
  • National Limousine Association
  • Regional Airlines Association
  • Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics
  • Southwest Airline Pilots Association
  • The Airline Passenger Experience
  • Travel Again
  • Travel Management Coalition
  • Travel Technologies
  • United States Tour Operators Association
  • US Chamber of Commerce
  • US Travel Association
  • Valerie Wilson Travel