Tourism officials react to the latest testing requirements for international travel

ASTA president and CEO Zane Kerby voiced his displeasure with the new testing requirements for entry into the U.S. that were announced on Thursday, seeing it as a second blow to U.S. tourism in less than a week.

Under the measures, which go into effect next week, international travelers must provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within one day of travel, a change from the current three-day testing window.

The announcement follows the Biden administration’s decision earlier this week to close the U.S. border to some countries to quell the spread of the new Covid variant, omicron, news that drew the ire of many in the tourism community.

“While we are pleased to see that the administration will not be implementing some of the more extreme measures it was reportedly considering, further tightening of the inbound testing window comes just days after a series of country-specific travel bans were imposed and is yet another blow to our industry and travelers around the globe,”  Kerby said in a statement.

“International travel, already extraordinarily complex, will become more complicated still, and our members’ businesses and clients will continue to suffer,” Kerby added.

He asked the president to “revisit the propriety” of both measures, believing existing masking, testing and vaccination requirements are enough.

Meanwhile, Tori Emerson Barnes, U.S. Travel executive vice president of public affairs and policies, said the organization hopes the new testing measure is a temporary one until more is learned about omicron.

“In the meantime, the travel industry urges everyone to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible,” Barnes said. “It has long been known that measures to combat the virus and its variants would evolve and require us to be nimble and adept.

“It is critically important that we communicate these policy changes clearly to global travelers and continue to welcome all qualified visitors to the United States.”

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