The trade has unilaterally welcomed the announcement that the US will reopen borders on 8 November.
Here’s what some have said:
Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss
“The US has been our heartland for more than 37 years and we are simply not Virgin without the Atlantic. We’ve been steadily ramping up flying to destinations such as New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and we can’t wait to fly our customers safely to their favourite US cities, on holiday or to reconnect with friends, loved ones and colleagues.”
Gold Medal Managing Director Lisa McAuley
“We saw an immediate positive reaction to the news about the reopening of the USA’s international borders this afternoon – calls jumped up by a factor of six and our team has been very busy responding to agent enquiries ever since. Coming so soon after the announcement about PCR test requirements, it feels a bit like all our Christmases have come at once!
“This last 18 months has been such a slog, but we can finally look forward now and rebuild in earnest. Our marketing and agent support teams will be all over this is the days ahead, so look out for campaign news, fantastic deals and more.”
American Express Global Business Travel Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Crawley
“We are pleased the White House has confirmed a date and details for the implementation of its new global travel policy. For the last 19 months, we’ve seen that a world without travel is less prosperous and less tolerant. The safe reopening of US borders to international travellers will reconnect cultures and economies, driving growth for businesses of all sectors and sizes.”
World Travel and Tourism President & CEO Julia Simpson
“It has been a long time coming, but the travel and tourism businesses on both sides of the Atlantic will be breathing a sigh of relief. Visitors from the EU and the UK contributed more than $46 billion to the US economy in 2019, showing just how critical this move will be to the US recovery.”
“The decision to allow double-vaccinated travellers to travel to the US from the UK from 8 November is great news for holidaymakers, business travellers and those who have been separated from friends and family for so long. It also sends a strong message that long-haul travel is open for business so should help to boost consumer confidence in travel more broadly.”
“The USA is one of our most popular long-haul destination and in a normal year attracts almost five million visitors from the UK. This change comes in time to allow people to, among other things, take the ever popular Christmas shopping trips to New York and provide a very welcome boost for the winter sports market whose customers love the country’s high quality ski resorts and allow families to plan their trips to the theme parks and beaches of Florida.”
Flight Centre UK General Manager Liz Mathews
“Today’s announcement allowing vaccinated British holidaymakers to visit the US in just over three weeks’ time is a welcome milestone in the bounce-back of the global travel industry. With the vast majority of the world now open to UK travellers and just a few destinations off-limits, consumers are now increasingly confident in booking international travel.
“Pre-COVID, 15% of Flight Centre’s annual bookings were to the US, representing hundreds of thousands of customers. To Brits, the US represents so much more than our largest economic ally; and now our customers can put concrete plans in place to see family, reunite with loved ones and explore the country once again.”
StudentUniverse (travel booking site for students and young people) General Manager Sam Willan
“We’re ecstatic to hear that the US has finally announced that it will re-open its borders to British travellers from 8 November. This is huge news for the youth and student travel industry, given the US is the UK’s biggest source market and thousands of young people travel between the two nations each year. Yesterday, StudentUniverse UK had its highest number of daily bookings since the start of the pandemic, with over 33% for UK-USA routes. Over the coming days, we predict bookings will remain strong and that US travel will grow to make up over 50% of our total bookings.