Major US travel companies pressure Biden to reopen international borders, starting with UK

May 12, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Executives from some of the United States’ largest travel entities have urged U.S. President Joe Biden to open international travel to the U.K. and other low-risk countries.

In conjunction with the U.S. Travel Association (USTA) — a nonprofit that represents the travel industry — representatives from companies like Wyndham Hotels; United Airlines; Disney Parks, Experiences and Products; Expedia Group, Inc.; and Carnival Cruise Line asked for The President’s help in a three-page letter.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

In This Post

A letter from the U.S. Travel Association and several top travel executives implores U.S. President Joe Biden, pictured, to reopen America to international travelers. (Photo by Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

What they’re asking

“As leaders of America’s travel and tourism industry, which has been the hardest hit sector of the economy, we respectfully urge your administration to seize this opportunity and quickly develop a roadmap to safely reopen international travel to the United States by this summer,” the letter reads, noting that international travel is estimated to take as long as five years to recover if nothing is done.

The letter also implores The President to take three key steps to speed up the reopening process.

First, it recommends that Biden work with Prime Minister Boris Johnson to establish a public health corridor (PHC) between the U.S. and the U.K. this month. The USTA says that move alone could support as many as 300,000 jobs and bring more than $4 billion to the U.S. economy.

The letter asks Biden to work with U.K. Prime Minister Borris Johnson, pictured, to reopen the U.S. to U.K. travelers first. (Photo by Geoff Pugh – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

 

There has already been some slow progress regarding U.K. travel. On May 10, the U.S. State Department downgraded its U.K. travel warning level from Level 4 to Level 3 for Americans wishing to visit.

Dated May 11, the correspondence from the USTA to The President was issued just four days after the U.K. released its latest round of approved “green” (read: safest) countries. The U.S. was excluded from the list, meaning Americans traveling there — even those who are fully vaccinated — will still have to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival or submit to significant testing throughout their stay.

The letter’s second request is the creation of a public-private task force — something much of the cruise sector set up last summer in the form of the Healthy Sail Panel — that could allow inbound travel from other low-risk nations as soon as July, using science and data, including vaccination rates, to determine risk.

Finally, the request asks Biden to use June’s G7 summit, which will be held in the U.K., to gather support from other nations committed to restarting international travel.

The halting of international travel has resulted in widespread job loss throughout the travel industry. (Photo by VanderWolf-Images/Getty.)

Why it’s important

“Prior to the pandemic, international inbound travel to the U.S. contributed $234 billion in export income to the U.S. economy, generated a trade surplus of $51 billion, and directly supported 1.2 million American jobs,” the letter says. “However, the steep decline in travel in 2020 resulted in the loss of $150 billion in export income and 1.1 million jobs. If nothing is done to lift entry restrictions, the U.S. is projected to lose an additional $175 billion by the end of this year.”

“We … remain hopeful that all segments of America’s travel industry can soon be safely restarted in order to contribute in significant ways to an overall recovery and bring the U.S. back together with the rest of the world,” the letter states.

Pile of Passports
Executives from several major travel brands — including American, Delta, JetBlue, United, Carnival Cruise Line, Accor, Hilton, IHG, Loews, Wyndham, Disney and Expedia — support the request. (Photo by Sergey Shik/Shutterstock)

Who endorses it

Executives who signed the letter include:

  • Roger Dow, President and Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Travel Association
  • Geoff Ballotti, President and Chief Executive Officer, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
  • Ed Bastian, Chief Executive Officer, Delta Air Lines
  • Nicholas E. Calio, President and Chief Executive Officer, Airlines for America
  • Anthony Capuano, Chief Executive Officer, Marriott International, Inc.
  • Josh D’Amaro, Chairman; Disney Parks, Experiences and Products
  • Christine Duffy, President, Carnival Cruise Line
  • Robin Hayes, Chief Executive Officer, JetBlue Airways Corp.
  • Peter Ingram, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hawaiian Airlines, Inc.
  • Jerry Jacobs, Jr., Chief Executive Officer, Delaware North
  • Peter Kern, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Expedia Group, Inc.
  • Scott Kirby, Chief Executive Officer, United Airlines
  • David Kong, President and Chief Executive Officer, BWH Hotel Group
  • Elie Maalouf, Chief Executive Officer, Americas, IHG Hotels & Resorts
  • Heather McCrory, Chief Executive Officer, North & Central America, Accor
  • Sean Menke, President and Chief Executive Officer, Sabre
  • Christopher J. Nassetta, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hilton
  • Patrick Pacious, President and Chief Executive Officer, Choice Hotels International, Inc.
  • Doug Parker, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, American Airlines
  • Scott Sibella, President, Resorts World Las Vegas
  • Chrissy Taylor, President and Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Holdings Inc.
  • Jonathan Tisch, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Loews Hotels & Co
  • Andrew Wexler, Chief Executive Officer, Herschend Enterprises

Featured photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
0% on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.