‘Drowned by American travelers’: The end of the test rule opens the floodgates of summer travel

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(CNN) – As summer heats up, the United States is removing its long-standing requirement that all travelers entering the country present a negative Govt-19 test.

The news brings both a collective sigh of relief and a flood of new international travelers to an already chaotic summer.

For many U.S. travelers, growth means not having to worry about the hassle or isolation of a test stay before returning to the states and having to wait for a negative test result if the pre-flight test is positive. .

In the meantime, international travelers to the United States can plan trips without fear of having to cancel due to a positive test. Most non-US citizens still need to be vaccinated to travel to the country.

And the affected travel industry is encouraging both groups of prospective customers to remove the barrier.

This rule, which came into force in January 2021, will expire on Sunday, June 12, at 12:01 ET for travelers to the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it will reconsider the rule if there is Covit-19. The situation is changing.

This growth comes after intense pressure from the travel trade and tourism groups as the industry continues to thrive after more than two years of epidemic-induced decline.

For months, such organizations have been calling for the removal of the test requirement, as has been the case in Canada and most countries in the UK and Europe since March. Following Friday’s news of the end of the rule, the American Hotels and Lodging Association (AHLA) and the US Travel Association (USTA) were among the groups that issued statements praising the move.

AHLA President and CEO Chip Rogers described it in a statement Friday as “a significant success for the hotel and broadcaster industry”, saying demand is outdated and creating a “cooling effect” on incoming international travel.

Meanwhile, USDA President and CEO Roger Dow stressed that if the test requirement is met, an additional 5.4 million visitors could be brought to the United States by the end of 2022 and an additional $ 9 billion in travel costs.

‘2022 three seasons simultaneously ‘

Although many in the travel industry support growth, some experts warn that demand may increase, availability may decrease and higher prices may certainly come, exacerbating the already chaotic travel landscape in the state and abroad.

“Europe is being flooded by American travelers,” Mina Agnos, head of Travelive, an agency that specializes in travel to Greece, emailed CNN Travel with offices in Athens and Delre Beach, Florida, Florida.

“Speaking to travel consultants across the United States, the consensus is that 2022 is ‘three seasons in one’. Hotel availability is tight and local services [such as] Guides, drivers, local airline, ferry and train services and restaurants will all be capable this season, ”Agnos said.

This is an assessment that will thrill the tourism industry, especially the hotel industry.

Chitra Stern, CEO of Martinhall Resorts, a family-centered luxury hotel group with properties all over Portugal, says U.S. testing restrictions “prevent multiple travelers” from planning overseas trips, especially families, the brand’s major population.

Stern expects to see an increase in US-based visitors to booking locations in Portugal and across Europe – the best market for Martinhall property in Lisbon – as there is no longer a negative test to return to the US.

“We now welcome many more Americans booking last-minute summer trips and long weekend city breaks,” Stern said.

With the test rule dropped, London is now expecting a bump in the US audience.  During the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, American passengers arriving in London reached pre-epidemic levels.

With the test rule dropped, London is now expecting a bump in the US audience. During the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, American passengers arriving in London reached pre-epidemic levels.

Abi Trailer-Smith for CNN

Laura Citron, CEO of Visit London, expects to see similar buzz among American travelers making up London’s largest incoming tourism market heading to the capital this summer.

“Throughout the epidemic, when travel restrictions were lifted, we saw sharpening in bookings from the United States to London,” Citron told CNN Travel via SMS, airlifting passengers from the United States to London this week reaching almost pre-epidemic levels. Platinum Jubilee Celebrations.

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According to Agnos, travelers who have set their hearts on a Greek vacation this summer should immediately start planning their trips and expect to struggle with the crowds. If Agnos’ business is any indication, the Mediterranean country is poised to see an influx of tourists in the coming months, so in June, travel guides, transfers vehicles and boats “almost sold out”, Agnos said.

This is the first time in the 21-year history of the travel operator.

“Even in areas like Athens and Mykonos, hotel availability is a serious concern, where inventory will always be adequate,” Agnos explained. “This is the first time we’ve stopped taking business because it’s not available.”

View of the Pony Windmill and the old Port of Mykonos in May 2020.  A travel consultant says this summer shelter will be tight.

View of the Pony Windmill and the old Port of Mykonos in May 2020. A travel consultant says this summer shelter will be tight.

Byron Smith / Getty Images

‘Increase in Trans Atlantic Demand’

It remains to be seen to what extent the removed restriction will result in an increase in air fares. But with the inevitable increase in demand, it is safe to say that in order to get the best deal, passengers should consider booking flights as soon as possible.

According to Scott Keys, founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights, co-founder of Flight Tracking and Booking Site, will expand routes and services to popular destinations such as Europe due to increased demand.

“I expect trans-Atlantic travel demand and airlines to respond by adding more flights to catch new areas of travelers interested in traveling between the United States and Europe,” Keys said.

This is definitely about supply and demand, Kyle Potter, editor of the airline contract and travel website, Trifty Traveler, told CNN Travel.

“Many domestic tariffs are higher than ever, and that’s where the demand is higher,” Potter said. “As more people look to Europe and beyond, we can easily see airlines raising fares, especially during the summer peak.”

Potter recommends traveling in late August and early September. “We’re still finding some great deals for Europe, such as non-stop fares of $ 500 (or less) for London or Rome during that time, even after the congestion of the last Atlantic Ocean had eased a bit.”

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In the light of the continuing shortage of staff in the hotel, restaurant and aviation sectors, travelers to more and more destinations need to exercise extra patience.

“I’m worried about the service this year,” Agnos said. “Employees are very hardworking, so service levels are not comparable to pre-Kovit positions, especially in luxury travel services.”

Kathy Hirst, travel manager at Black Pearl Luxury Services, a Salt Lake City-based custom travel operator, said she expects some disappointment from customers waiting to book an international trip, while being “delighted” by the increased testing requirement. No longer needed, can now face limited availability.

On April 29, visitors were already standing in line to visit the famous Louvre Museum in Paris.  Summer travel can be very busy in many parts of Europe.

On April 29, visitors were already standing in line to visit the famous Louvre Museum in Paris. Summer travel can be very busy in many parts of Europe.

AFP via Getty Images

“Now that they are ready to book, they will be disappointed with the lack of inventory with tours, hotels, ships and air tickets,” Hirst said in an email. “Now we have found that many hotels, airlines, travel agencies and excursions are having a hard time running due to staff shortages.”

Like Agnos, Hirst noticed significant improvements in trials and bookings for European hotspots, including France, Greece, Italy and the United Kingdom. He said locations in the Caribbean and Mexico were also “very popular” and demand was very high across the board, with some of his colleagues rejecting requests to book custom trips.

“These trips are a lot of fun to plan, but very time consuming and many consultants turn down new clients because we are overwhelmed with demands,” Hirst said.

“People have been waiting two years to travel, and the need to stagnate is a good problem at our end, but it makes the days too long and stressful,” he said. “I hope things get smoother in the coming months, but now the trip is hotter than I’ve seen in more than 20 years in the industry.”

CNN’s Marnie Hunter and Forrest Brown contributed to this report.

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