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U.S. travel industry welcomes possible return of vaccinated

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The travel industry on Friday applauded new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that Americans fully vaccinated against Covid-19 could travel at low risk for themselves, as it could help struggling businesses and encourage more Americans to board flights, cruises, buses and trains.

CDC’s new travel guide is a major step in the right direction that is backed by science and will reduce the brakes on the industry that has been by far the hardest hit by the Covid fallout, Roger Dow, Managing Director of the US Travel Association, an industry group, said in a statement. As travel returns, jobs in the United States are returning.

But while the news may be a boon to the industry, its concerns are far from over. Federal health officials have urged people not to travel at all unless they absolutely do, a recommendation that still applies, the agency director said on Friday.

And if a person is fully vaccinated, the CDC says they can travel freely in the United States and do not need to be tested or quarantined before or after their trip. But some states and local governments may choose to keep travel restrictions in place, including testing, quarantine, and stay-at-home orders.

Most airlines, hotels and tourist destinations suffered mounting losses for more than a year, with Americans largely staying at home. Travel is starting to pick up, but many of these companies won’t see significant profits for months at least.

More generally, the pandemic has also shown businesses large and small that their employees can often be as productive working remotely as they are face to face. As a result, the airline and hospitality industries expect it will be years before lucrative business travel returns to pre-pandemic levels, leaving a yawning hole in revenues.

And while leisure travel to the United States may recover steadily, airlines expect it will take until 2023 or 2024 for passenger volume to return to 2019 levels, according to Airlines for America. , a trade association and a lobbying group. The industry lost more than $ 35 billion last year and continues to lose tens of millions of dollars a day, the group said.

U.S. airlines share administrations’ commitment to restore service in a way that prioritizes the safety and well-being of passengers and employees, and we are encouraged that science continues to confirm that ‘There is a very low risk of virus transmission in the air travel environment, Airlines for America said in a statement.

Still, a rebound appears to be underway. On Thursday, the Transportation Security Administration reported that more than 1.5 million travelers passed security checkpoints at airports, with the number of travelers increasing from early to mid-March.

Although this is a significant increase from 124,000 travelers a year ago, it is still 35% less than in 2019.

Many airlines have added flights to beach and mountain destinations that have been popular throughout the pandemic. This week, Delta Air Lines also said it would resume selling mid-size seats, United Airlines said it would resume hiring pilots after freezing it last year, and Frontier Airlines launched an initial public offering. .

The time is right, said Barry Biffle, President and CEO of Frontiers, in an interview. If you look, the vaccine is unlocking demand and you see it everywhere. You see it in restaurants, you see it in hotels.

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