Politics of Travel Stop and Smell the roses with more clarity on International Travel


Anticipation is hitting me on so many levels. The U.S. House of Representatives may or may not vote on both the bi-partisan hard infrastructure AND the Build Back Better (BBB) plan on Thursday evening…I am writing this at 3:30 PM Thursday November 4 – its now 8:30 am Friday and they say a vote is happening today – yet there are still concerns over immigration, tax repeals for hi taxed states (SALT) and the overall cost of the BBB, so you have all that and yet the fate of the BBB in the Senate is uncertain. Throw in non U.S. automakers and ambassadors from Canada, EU, Mexico and Japan being upset about tax credits for U.S. companies to make EVs and it is enough to give me Double Vision.

The Politics of Travel will be taking a hiatus as we launch into an in-person GBTA Annual Convention. After being locked in this home office since March 18, 2020 (SO LONG) coupled with many twists and turns I am really looking forward to networking and re-connecting with you all! I hope to see you and will give you a big wave as I am walking quickly to the next session GBTA staff have to cover 😊

FURTHER CLARITY FOR TRAVELERS TO U.S: Last week, the Biden Administration announced additional information for foreign citizens traveling to the U.S. Click here to view the information along with many links to government documents. The big news since the last POT is that approved vaccines include those authorized by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the World Health Organization emergency-use listed vaccines. Both digital and paper certificates of vaccination will be accepted. Additional accommodations will be made for people who can document that they have recovered from a COVID-19 infection in the past 90 days.

THE RACERS: (repost from 11/4/2021 GBTA DNB – HOW EUROPE IS GETTING BACK TO TRAVEL) Like the rest of the world, Europe is making its way back from COVID-19 and that includes figuring out the what, why and how of getting economies and travel back on track. A new survey by the European Travel Commission shows that over half of Europeans feel comfortable taking a plane again, while 66% intend to travel within the next 6 months.

According to a Eurobarometer survey, 65% of EU citizens agree that “the EU Digital COVID Certificate is the safest means for free travel in Europe.” And according to the European Commission’s new report, 591 million Digital COVID Certificates have been created in the EU since July 1, 2021. The overall figure consists of 437 million certificates for full vaccination, 144 test certificates, and 10 million recovery certificates.

PENALIZING FAMILY TRAVEL: The Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable called for the Canadian government to remove the pre-departure PCR test requirement for fully vaccinated travelers, calling it unnecessary and non-science-based obstacles to international travel.

Citing an additional cost of CAD 800 for PCR tests for a family of four, the Roundtable stated the fee is proving cost-prohibitive to many Canadian families and depressing travel and tourism.  Here at GBTA we note that as vaccines become more widely available and proven, some countries are ending the requirements of testing AND fully vaccinated. We will be looking into this more and into 2022.

RIDERS IN THE SKY: According to news reports, the FAA has referred 37 cases of egregiously unruly behavior from airline passengers to the U.S. Department of Justice noting that it believes all of them meet the standard for potential criminal prosecution. Per the FAA’s latest statistics, there have been 5,033 reported unruly passenger incidents this year, 3,642 of which were related to mask compliance. The agency has initiated 950 investigations and taken action in 227 cases.

In August, the FAA said it had proposed more than $1 million in fines for disruptive passenger behavior this year — however, it’s not clear how much of those proposed fines have actually been settled or collected.

In an effort to combat this, the FAA and DOJ have established an information-sharing protocol for the FAA to refer unruly passenger cases to the FBI for criminal case review.

LAST NUGGETS: Always stop and smell the roses! Tun Tavern in Philadelphia is the birthplace of the United States Marine Corps. It was burned down in 1781. A replica exists in Atlantic City. If you want to come and celebrate then I will see you on November 10 at Murphy’s in Old Town Alexandria, we can sing Juke Box Hero and the Marine Corps. Hymn!

And that finishes the Foreigner triple play theme.  See you in Orlando

Shane Downey
Vice President, Government & Community Relations
GBTA
sdowney@gbta.org
(O) 703 236-1131
(C) 703 459-7425

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