BREAKING: Covid testing requirement to be lifted for international travel
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Travelers coming into the U.S. won’t need proof of negative Covid test as of Sunday; travel agents are bracing for explosion in international bookings
Travelers at Charlotte’s airport this week awaiting a shuttle bus from the Daily parking deck. The airport has said to expect large crowds this weekend as the summer travel season starts.
by Cristina Bolling and Tony Mecia
The U.S. government is lifting the requirement for a negative Covid test to re-enter the country, effective Sunday morning, which removes a headache for international travelers just as the summer travel season gets underway.
The nation’s travel industry is already hot despite current high airfare prices, but travel experts say the lifting of the testing requirement will ignite it further. Many travelers have been hesitant to travel overseas because of worries they’ll get stuck in a foreign country and don’t want to deal with the hassle and expense of testing while on vacation.
“I told my team ‘buckle up — brace yourselves,’” said Karen Shelton, owner of My Path Unwinding Travel and Luxury Travel PhD, two locally based firms with 15 travel advisors nationwide.
Moments after hearing the news this morning, Shelton started typing up a newsletter to alert her client list. She expects trips to Mexico and the Caribbean to be big sellers through 2022 and for Europe to pick up in 2023.
“So many of my clients were selecting destinations in the U.S. including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands so they did not have to test to come home,” Shelton said. “They were definitely limiting themselves or just delaying travel.”
The rules required that air travelers to the U.S. — including U.S. citizens who are vaccinated — present proof of a negative Covid test before boarding a plane. They were intended to suppress the spread of Covid but also had the effect of stranding travelers abroad if they tested positive. The U.S. travel industry had lobbied for the requirement to be dropped as the spread of Covid has waned in the last few months.
Related Ledger article: “Airfares are taking off” (May 13)
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