The US has removed Covid-related travel testing just in time for the peak summer season. Its tourism industry is likely to receive a welcome boost thanks to this announcement, making travel to and from the country much more accessible. However, caution will need to be exercised.
The US is becoming less apprehensive about the pandemic
According to GlobalData’s 2021 Q4 Global Consumer Survey, which focuses on consumer attitudes towards COVID-19, US respondents are becoming less apprehensive about the pandemic. In Q4, nearly one third of American consumers stated that were either other ‘not concerned’ or just ‘slightly concerned’ about the pandemic. These results show that opinion among US respondents is shifting to a more positive outlook regarding the pandemic. As such, US residents and businesses are more likely to be open to the idea of welcoming more inbound tourists. This is in part attributed to the large-scale vaccine roll-out. The US has one of the best vaccination rates in the Americas, with 78.6% of the population having received the first dose and 67.3% also receiving the second dose (as of June 15, 2022.)
Removal of testing signals a shift back to pre-pandemic travel
The US Department of Commerce is looking to leverage existing programs and assets to promote the United States to international visitors and broaden marketing efforts to encourage visitation. This has the potential to be positive for the US tourism industry, with targeted marketing building on the fact that The US is the most popular destination for Canadian travelers to visit. The US is also the sixth most popular destination for international travelers globally, according to GlobalData’s Demands and Flows database. As a result, this move could enable the US to claw back its competitive advantage over its global counterparts which ditched testing requirements at a much earlier stage.
Balance is key for the US’s tourism recovery
Although the removal of testing is good news for the US travel industry, governmental authorities need to exercise some caution and ensure contingency plans are in place. Measures to be removed include the testing of travelers when traveling to the country. However, with the threat of future COVID-19 variants, the US government needs to ensure it can quickly reintroduce and scale up testing measures if another wave of the virus occurs. Moving forwards, it will be a balancing act for authorities as the world learns to live with the disease. Communication and collaboration with travel and tourism companies across The US is essential. Nevertheless, the US’s removal of pre and post travel testing could potentially make 2022’s summer tourism season a pivotal one for the US tourism industry’s recovery.