Stepping Through The Door
I’m attending my first in-person conference since the pandemic began. Walking into a convention center this week surrounded by 1,000+ attendees felt familiar — but also different. People were connecting, learning and attending programs, while event organizers prioritized health and safety for all. For our GBTA Convention in November, we are doing the same. (You can read more here.)
This week we are also celebrating recent strides in travel recovery as fully vaccinated travelers from the European Union and the United States will be allowed to travel to England without having to quarantine. However, the US decided not to lift current travel restrictions in the short term. And the CDC is recommending in certain areas of the US that vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors due to the Delta variant.
So even as we step forward, we’ll likely see a few more detours ahead. But as more people are vaccinated, the more safely and quickly we’ll return to business travel – and therefore to doing business. Testing, vaccinations and masking continue to facilitate the return to travel. (And speaking of masks, a sustainability tip: snip the loops before throwing them away to prevent wildlife from getting tangled or injured.)
When we think about recovery, we also know that travel – and travelers – are not all the same. GBTA strongly encourages governments to consider the differences between business and leisure travel, especially when it comes to opening borders for international travel. Business travelers are experienced travelers who are used to taking precautions. And they are willing and ready to travel. In our recent GBTA poll, three in four respondents felt their employees are ‘willing’ or ‘very willing’ to travel for business. Our industry is also a vaccinated industry, with 90% of poll respondents reporting they were fully or partially vaccinated.
As an industry, we’ll continue to navigate any detours together. This is the focus of GBTA and our new Board of Directors. They’ll be holding their first Board meeting in September, so we encourage you to reach out and share your thoughts and ideas to help shape the future.
News to Know
U.S. to Maintain Existing Travel Restrictions, Issues Updated Mask Guidance
The Biden Administration declared it is not yet ready to lift restrictions on international travel, citing the delta variant-driven rise of COVID cases, particularly among the unvaccinated. Concurrently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a recommendation that even fully vaccinated people should wear masks while indoors in areas with high transmission rates.
England Opens Up to Vaccinated Travelers
As of yesterday, those who’ve been fully vaccinated in the EU, the U.S. and the European Free Trade Association countries can travel into England without having to quarantine or self-isolate, but will still need to complete a pre-departure COVID test before arriving and take a PCR test on day two after arrival in England.
Travel Restrictions Easing in Chile
As of July last week, fully-vaccinated residents of Chile can now travel by plane without special permission but must complete a 10-day quarantine at home, while returning travelers who have not received both vaccine doses or live more than five hours away from the Santiago airport – the sole point of entry – will have to complete the quarantine at a designated hotel at their own expense.
Alberta Issues Guidance on Third Doses
Alberta will not be following in the footsteps of Quebec by offering a third COVID-19 vaccine dose to people who want to travel to countries that don’t recognize their vaccination status.
GBTA News & Reminders
Traveler Experience & Wellbeing – Register Today
The travel experience can cause stress and anxiety, even without throwing in a pandemic! Join me when the GBTA Collaboratory Series picks back up, Sept. 8 at 10 a.m. ET, for this session focusing on the booking experience, human connections and mental health, and how to take some of the angst out of the travel journey.
Check out our “Year in Review” on GBTATV!
It’s been a year unlike any other for our industry, and our Association. Click here to view the GBTA Year in Review video that was featured at our July 20 Annual Business Meeting – the accomplishments are quite impressive! And while you’re there, poke around and watch some of the other great video content available on GBTATV.