GBTA calls on governments in Europe, Canada, U.S. and Latin America to end COVID-19 testing requirements for vaccinated travelers. It’s been almost two years to the day since the global pandemic was declared. And while entire segments of the global economy have successfully reopened, business travel is still lagging far behind in recovery.
Corporations are reluctant to send people back on the road in large part due to the complexity and inconsistency of international testing requirements and entry and exit rules. These continue to be significant barriers to the return of business travel without adding demonstrated value when it comes to health and safety. These measures simply do not permit travel flexibility or schedule changes, add tremendous uncertainty, hurt productivity, and create financial burdens for businesses needing to send their employees on international business trips.
GBTA has recently held successful conferences in Europe (which brought attendees from 21 countries) and Latin America and meetings in the U.S. and Canada. GBTA’s global corporate members are expressing that their biggest business travel challenge is inconsistent government rules that include cumbersome testing requirements and unclear vaccination policies – from understanding acceptable vaccine types to booster requirements to vaccination expiration dates. The risk of getting stuck in a foreign country is cause for reconsidering that international trip, both for companies and business travelers themselves.
COVID-19 testing requirements are impacting the return to business travel, stifling continuity and competitiveness. In a recent GBTA industry poll, nearly 50% would like entry test requirements to go away for the vaccinated, and even more so in North America.
To that end, GBTA believes governments should treat all travelers as individuals and not as a monolithic group when considering travel restrictions. At the minimum, COVID-19 testing for vaccinated travelers should be eliminated. As long as confusing and unnecessary testing measures are maintained, previously forecast estimates for business travel recovery by 2023 are at risk (subject to further lifting of travel rules) and will push the return to pre-pandemic levels into 2024.