ASTA president and CEO Zane Kerby said he applauds the news that the European Union (EU) plans to reopen to fully vaccinated U.S. travelers this summer and noted that the Society is now calling for the CDC to exempt travelers returning from the EU from having to provide a negative Covid-19 test.
Current CDC guidance requires all international travelers to provide a negative test before entering the U.S.
“Doing so will help the travel industry make the most of this development while protecting public health and reducing the risk of Americans stranded overseas at their own expense,” Kerby said in a statement.
He also encouraged the CDC to continue work on systems that will establish a traveler’s vaccination, immunity or negative test result to further aid in the return of travel.
ASTA also expressed concerns about the State Department’s recent change in how it issues travel warnings and the confusion it could cause when paired with other recent announcements, such as fully vaccinated individuals being able to travel safely domestically.
The State Department last week more closely aligned its travel advisories with the CDC, meaning a “significant number” of countries are classified as Level 4, or “Do Not Travel,” ASTA said.
“ASTA remains an advocate for the development of a risk-based, data-driven roadmap for restoring international travel,” the Society said in a statement. “The government has historically used broad-based risk indicators to inform their warnings. We believe that the State Department needs to be more precise when it comes to making decisions about travel warnings.”
ASTA said it will, however, continue to point travelers to the State Department and the CDC as resources to determine their own level of risk tolerance for travel.
The Society told members it understands the confusion created when mixed messages occur, citing the recent guidance for fully vaccinated individuals, and said it has requested a meeting with the State Department to discuss its concerns.