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U.S. TRAVEL UPDATE: New Travel Restrictions, Coronavirus Updates & Toolkit Links

Mar 12, 2020


U.S. Travel's Emergency Preparedness and Response: Coronavirus toolkit contains the latest information and resources from CDC and WHO, along with messaging guidance on how best to respond to this evolving issue. It was last updated on March 10, 2020.

Previous Releases:

U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement on the announced suspension of most air travel to and from Europe:

“In taking aggressive steps to protect the public against coronavirus, the U.S. government should now consider equally aggressive steps to protect America's workforce and employers. The public's health is the top concern, but now the policy conversation must address the health of the economy.
“Temporarily shutting off travel from Europe is going to exacerbate the already-heavy impact of coronavirus on the travel industry and the 15.7 million Americans whose jobs depend on travel. We have and will continue to engage Congress and the administration on policy steps that are necessary to ensure that travel employers—83% of which are small businesses—can keep the lights on for their employees."

According to U.S. Travel Association economists, 850,000 international visitors flying from Europe (excluding the UK) entered the United States in March of 2019, accounting for about 29% of total overseas arrivals to the U.S. These visitors spent approximately $3.4 billion in the U.S.

U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $2.5 trillion in economic output and supports 15.7 million jobs. U.S. Travel's mission is to increase travel to and within the United States.

Weekly Update: COVID-19 Readiness and Response

On Monday, U.S. Travel EVP of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Barnes met with the National Economic Council (NEC) and the Office of Public Liaison – both of which are highly engaged as part of the President's Coronavirus Task Force - at the White House to discuss policies and discuss efforts to control the virus' spread. U.S. Travel's government relations team likewise has spent the last several days meeting with key lawmakers as they consider potential policies to address future recovery.

Federal/Congressional Updates

  • Over the weekend, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their guidance on travel, particularly regarding cruise ship travel, which now advises older adults and those with underlying health conditions to take particular precautions to protect themselves from coronavirus, such as avoiding long trips and deferring cruise ship travel worldwide. However, the CDC continues to reiterate that the virus is not widespread in the U.S. and the risk to the general American public does remain low. Though older travelers and adults with underlying health issues should avoid situations that put them at increased risk, per the CDC's recommendation, there are no restrictions on travel anywhere in the U.S.
  • Last Wednesday, President Trump signed an emergency coronavirus funding bill that provides $8.3 billion to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of State, the Small Business Administration and other federal agencies. The funding will be used for research and development of vaccines and other diagnostics, state and local preparedness and response, loans to small businesses affected by the outbreak and more.
  • Tonight, March 10, President Trump and the coronavirus task force are hosting a media briefing . The president has said he will announce an economic plan to respond to the outbreak, though it is unclear as of now what details that plan may contain.

International Updates:

  • On Monday, Italy's prime minister extended the country's emergency measures to combat the coronavirus, announcing that all residents should stay home and imposing severe limits on travel across the country. It is the first European country to take such measures, which are similar to those adopted in China shortly after the virus began to spread.
  • The CDC continues to recommend avoiding all nonessential travel (Level 3 warning) to China, Iran, South Korea and Italy. This week, they added a Level 1 travel health notice for Hong Kong, recommending that travelers practice usual precautions if traveling to the city. For the latest travel alerts and warnings, visit the CDC webpage, Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel.

Travel Industry Updates

  • On Monday, U.S. Travel hosted a meeting with executives from other associations and leading travel industry organizations, including the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and the International Franchise Association (IFA), to discuss ways to coordinate our messaging and work together to promote a calm, facts-driven approach to this outbreak. As a result of the meeting, nearly 150 travel organizations released a joint industry statement to the media emphasizing the importance of facts over fear—and encouraging Americans that it is safe to live, work, play and travel in the U.S.