U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo on Wednesday said that restarting business and international travel was a “top priority” of the federal government without offering any details or timeframes for reopening international travel corridors.
“I can promise that getting business travel and international travel going again is a top priority” of the Biden administration and the federal government, Raimondo said during a webinar hosted by the American Hotel & Lodging Association.
“We hear the message loudly and clearly, and all I can do is assure you we are on it,” said Raimondo, noting she recently had spoken with panels of CEOs from the airline and cruise industries, who she said stressed the importance of restarting international and business travel.
The state of permissible international travel continues to vary by country. The United States and United Kingdom this month agreed to establish a working group of experts to develop recommendations for restarting international travel, a move AHLA president and CEO Chip Rogers called “helpful” during the webinar, but noted the importance of restarting travel between Europe and the United States. In the meantime, the U.S. continues to deny foreign nationals from the U.K. and Europe’s Schengen Area, among other locations, entry. The U.S. also requires a negative Covid-19 test for all inbound international air travelers.
European Union countries are deciding individually whether to allow inbound international travel, and a few have, including France and Portugal.
“I’m doing everything I can as an advocate to open key corridors for business travel internationally,” Raimondo said, noting the successful rollout of Covid-19 vaccines in the U.S. and U.K. and, to a lesser extent, continental Europe. “I’m hopeful that post-Labor Day we will see a nice uptick in business travel and international travel.”
Meanwhile, Raimondo said the Commerce Department “soon” would announce the delivery of $750 million in aid to the U.S. travel and tourism industries. The aid would be delivered to individual states, which could use the funding “very flexibly” to assist the sector, she said.
“We’re working feverishly to get this out the door quickly because we know time is of the essence,” she said. “Help very definitely is on the way.”
Originally Appeared On: https://www.businesstravelnews.com/Transportation/US-Commerce-Secretary-Calls-Corp-Travel-Restart-Top-Priority-Details-Few