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As soon as the announcement came that the COVID-19 testing requirement to enter (or reenter) the U.S. had been lifted, there was a round of applause from throughout the industry. Here’s a sprinkle of statements to mark this long-awaited announcement.

Kristin Karst

AmaWaterways’ co-founder and executive v.p. Kristin Karst said in a statement: “The removal of the COVID-19 testing requirement for international air travelers entering the U.S. is a very positive step in allowing the world to return to normal. With health and safety continuing to stay top-of-mind, this move will further allow people to more freely participate in activities, like international travel that brings such joy and rejuvenation by reuniting with loved ones and embracing new experiences. There is a huge pent-up demand in the United States for international travel and we expect our river cruise sales for the remainder of 2022 to experience a considerable boost from this news.”

Ellen Bettridge

Another river cruise operator, Uniworld, says they can’t wait to welcome guests on board, with president and CEO Ellen Bettridge stating, “Since the start of the pandemic, our U.S. customers expressed that the testing requirement for re-entry is the number one thing holding them back from traveling internationally, and we’re thrilled that this barrier has been lifted. The timing is perfect as we kick off the summer with special savings on our most loved European itineraries.”

This news is, in fact, most welcome among all the cruise lines—ocean or river—with Holland America Line’s president Gus Antorcha remarking: “The CDC ending its requirement of a negative COVID-19 test for Americans to reenter the U.S. is an important step forward in the return to all global travel, including cruising. The change means that U.S. travelers can pursue their love of cruising Holland America Line voyages from homeports in Europe, Canada and Australia without concern they could be denied entry to return home. It removes a barrier to travel for some guests who understandably wanted to avoid the uncertainty of return testing.”

Josh Leibowitz

In his statement, Josh Leibowitz, president of Seabourn, stated: “We welcome the positive news from the U.S. government to lift the testing requirements for inbound travelers. This change will give travelers more confidence to make plans to travel to worldwide destinations, and more importantly, our U.S. guests will have peace of mind knowing they will be able to return home without having to undergo testing requirements. In addition, our international guests will also have less stress when they book voyages departing from the U.S.”

Terry Dale

On the tour operator front, Terry Dale, president & CEO of the United States Tour Operators Association, released the following statement: “USTOA applauds the Administration’s announcement lifting its requirement for pre-departure COVID-19 testing. The pre-departure testing requirement for international air travelers has depressed a significant amount of travel to the U.S. and hasn’t provided any meaningful benefit to public health for some time. Removing the pre-departure testing requirement will incentivize vaccination, increase demand for international travel to and from the U.S., and better align passenger aviation entry requirements with those at U.S. land border points of entry and other major travel-trade partners abroad. USTOA remains committed to working with the Administration to ensure a safe, expeditious reopening of international travel.”

And representing the U.S. hotel industry, American Hotel & Lodging Association’s president & CEO Chip Rogers released the following statement: “[This] announcement is a significant win for hotels and the broader travel industry. AHLA consistently called on the Administration and Congress to lift this testing requirement, which was out of date and had a chilling effect on inbound international travel to the U.S. Lifting the requirement will make travel easier, facilitating more international visitors and helping hotels continue on the road to recovery, especially as we approach peak travel season this summer.”