New Survey Finds U.S. Pre-Departure Testing a Significant Barrier to International Travel and Economic Recovery

A new survey conducted by Morning Consult for the US Travel Association finds that the federal government’s pre-departure testing requirement is having a devastating impact on the likelihood of travelers to visit the US this summer and remains a major barrier to economic recovery.

A survey of vaccinated international travelers in France, Germany, the UK, South Korea, Japan and India found that pre-departure testing requirements are a deterrent to travel and make it much less likely that people choose to visit the United States.

  • Almost half of respondents (47%) who are unlikely to travel overseas in the next 12 months cited pre-departure testing requirements as a reason.
  • More than half of international travelers (54%) said the added uncertainty of potentially having to cancel a trip due to US pre-departure testing requirements would have a big impact on their likelihood of visiting the US.
  • A large majority of adults surveyed (71%) agree they prioritize travel to destinations without burdensome entry requirements, including 29% who strongly agree.

An opportunity to save the summer travel season

Despite the grim inbound travel projections, there’s still time for the Biden administration to salvage the summer travel season and accelerate the recovery of travel businesses. Forty-six percent of international travelers would be more likely visit the United States if pre-departure testing requirements for vaccinated adults were waived. If removing the pre-departure testing requirement resulted in just a 20% increase in additional visitors this summer compared to what we expected, that would mean half a million additional visitors each month and $2 billion. into valuable travel exports to the United States. Over the summer, that spending could directly support about 40,000 jobs in the United States.

This is particularly urgent as international arrivals to the United States are still well below pre-pandemic levels and are not expected to return to 2019 levels until 2024.

“Before the pandemic, travel was the second-largest export in American industry and generated a positive trade balance of $53 billion,” said US Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “Inbound travel is key to reducing the overall trade deficit, but the pre-departure testing requirement remains an unnecessary barrier to winning back visitors and competing for global tourism dollars.

“While other countries with similar case, vaccination and hospitalization rates have removed their testing requirements and begun to rebuild their travel economies, the United States is at a competitive disadvantage and risks a extended recovery period.”

With numerous health and safety tools in place, virtually every other sector of the US economy, including domestic air travel, operates without a federal testing requirement; inbound international air travel remains a major exception. The Morning Consult survey follows a May 5 letter in which more than 260 travel and business organizations urgently asked the White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator, Dr. Ashish Jha, to repeal the pre-departure testing requirement for vaccinated international air travellers.

The US Travel Association is urging the Biden administration to quickly repeal the pre-departure testing requirement for vaccinated international air travelers and accelerate the recovery of this critical segment of the US economy.

Click here to see the full Morning Consult poll results.

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