Tourism pros, passengers alike celebrate end of US testing for international travelers
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii travel and tourism sector officials are celebrating President Biden’s decision to do away with a COVID testing requirement for passengers traveling into the United States.
The testing changes will go into effect on Sunday and come during the busy summer travel season.
“It’s huge, huge news,” said April Cheng, owner of TravelChic World in Hawaii.
“Just the hurdles of getting a test one day before entering the U.S., for international travelers, whether you’re vaccinated was a huge disturbance with travel into the U.S.”
Tourism industry officials say they’re already seeing strong visitor arrivals to Hawaii, but are excited about the potential for an international travel rebound. In April, the state state visitor arrivals were up about 67% from last year thanks to domestic travel.
Meanwhile, Japan is also easing restrictions for travelers.
They’re now allowing visitors in if they’re part of an organized tour group. Japan stopped allowing travel in 2020, and has been working to bring back visitors over the past year. They say that tours are now being accepted from 98 countries and regions.
Cheng said the end of the US testing requirement will make a big difference for international travelers.
And she should know.
She recently traveled to Canada with her family and they tested positive while there. After completing a five-day quarantine period, Air Canada still denied her from boarding, she said.
She said the travel headache turned out to be pretty costly.
“For the people who may not have that financial ability to extend their trip because of these quarantine rules, even though they are vaccinated, it begins to just not make sense,” Cheng said.
In announcing the end of the testing rule Friday, the US said the mandate could return if needed.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it will reassess the decision in about 90 days.
For more information from the CDC, click here.
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