Alexandria, VA (February 11, 2021) – As the Biden administration is considering a rule that would require negative COVID-19 test results for domestic air travel and potentially other restraints to interstate travel, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the world’s largest business travel association, issued the following statement:
“GBTA and the entire business travel industry continue to support all necessary and practical measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and it’s variants to make travel safe again,” said Dave Hilfman, interim executive director of GBTA, which represents more than 9,000 members worldwide, thousands of U.S. members and 37 chapters in the U.S. “We call for decisions to be backed by data and science, while also considering feasibility and scalability.”
“The travel industry is fully engaged and supportive of mitigating the risks of this pandemic. Mandatory masks, touchless technology, social distancing requirements and increased cleaning standards have been in place for months by the industry. Rigorous scientific studies show that existing protections – mask wearing, enhanced sanitation, HEPA filters to remove virus particles from recirculated air – effectively mitigate risk in air travel. Mitigation of risk and continued messaging by the Administration on how to travel, where to travel and when to travel is the key to curbing the spread.
“The consequences of the mandates under consideration would be devastating to an already struggling industry. GBTA’s research supports other data that points to the travel industry as the hardest hit sector. The loss in global work hours during 2020 compared to the end of 2019 was equivalent to 400 million full-time jobs in the hotel, airline, airport, ground transportation, restaurant and other service provider segments.
“An aviation-only testing mandate would not be scalable, feasible nor effective, and may in fact be discriminatory and unwarranted. Highlighting personal responsibility and personal accountability as opposed to blanket orders that are next to impossible to manage is how we as a nation will emerge from this time of devastating loss of life, mental stress and economic struggles. We strongly encourage the Biden administration to take a science-based, realistic approach and to not further cripple an industry that is fighting to stay in existence.”
About the Global Business Travel Association
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is the world’s premier business travel and meetings trade organization headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area with operations on six continents. GBTA’s 9,000-plus members manage more than $345 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA delivers world-class education, events, research, advocacy, and media to a growing global network of more than 28,000 travel professionals and 125,000 active contacts. To learn how business travel drives lasting business growth, visit www.gbta.org.