Politics of Travel: Global Testing, New Canada Rules and U.S. Legislative Summit

Have you ever had a moment where so many things happened its hard to keep track of it all? February has been that month for GBTA’s advocacy efforts and happenings. The month started with in-person meetings at GBTA HQ. The week included discussing issues with the GBTA Board, GBTA Staff Leadership and the U.S. Government Relations Committee, a quick personal detour to Nashville, then off to speak with the U.S. Chapter leaders in Tampa, FL then over to San Antonio, TX to Routes Americas for a panel discussion on Market Recovery, and now I sit here preparing for my departure to Berlin for the GBTA Conference 2021 in partnership with VDR. A lot of important developments are happening. We need your help to continue the momentum. I hope you find this informative and as always don’t hesitate to contact me.

GLOBAL POLICY DISCUSSION: GBTA convened a meeting of EU, Canadian, U.S. and LATAM members to discuss concerns over testing requirements and how they are hindering international travel. Key points were the need for “Harmonization” and “Clear Government Communications”.

TELL ME YOUR OPINION: What do you think about this? Governments must coordinate and clearly communicate cross border rules. Governments should consider an individual’s country of origin’s definition of vaccination and are considered fully vaccinated if they are up-to-date with the vaccination recommendations, or meet the guidance for immunity, provided by their countries health authorities.

GBTA believes governments should treat all travelers as individuals and not as a monolithic group when considering travel restrictions. At the minimum, testing for vaccinated travelers should be eliminated.

GLOBAL ACTVITY: In the meeting with the group and the U.S. Government Relations Committee, we covered these developments.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that states consider a risk-based approach to the facilitation of international travel by lifting measures, such as testing and/or quarantine requirements, for individual travelers who are fully vaccinated.

The European Union has recommended that its countries remove COVID travel restrictions.

The United Kingdom announced the removal of COVID pre-departure testing for vaccinated air travelers to enter the country. Concluding the cost to both passengers and airlines of the testing mandate could no longer be justified as there was no evidence the regime protected the population from COVID.

In Canada, GBTA echoed the calls to end pre and post departure travel for inbound travelers. GBTA Canada’s Regional Vice President Nancy Tudorache welcomed the announcement of eased entry requirements by the Canadian Government. The new level 2 rules allow vaccinated travelers to have the option of using a COVID-19 rapid antigen test result (taken the day prior to their scheduled flight or arrival at the land border or marine port of entry) or a molecular test result (taken no more than 72 hours before their scheduled flight or arrival at the land border or marine port of entry) There is a lot here so please Click for the Government announcement.

In the U.S., GBTA joined with other groups calling on the Biden Administration to end the testing requirements for U.S. inbound vaccinated travelers. You can read the letter to the Biden Administration here

TAKE ACTION: For our U.S. readers, if you agree with the message that testing for vaccinated travelers needs to be ended then I encourage you to click to the GBTA Action Center and send the letter to your member of Congress https://p2a.co/LV1QE9s

We are collectively making a difference in establishing Pandemic Travel Rules that keep people traveling safely! THANK YOU!!

ROCK DOWN TO ELECTRIC AVE: If you watched the Super Bowl, I am sure you were struck (pun intended) by the number of electric car ads. This is an interesting article that covers the many issues the U.S. faces related to rolling out the charging infrastructure needed to make electric cars a legitimate option for all including business travel.   https://www.eenews.net/articles/who-wants-bidens-ev-charging-money-everybody/

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND: Exciting news for the U.S. GBTA Chapters – at the U.S. Chapter Leadership Summit, I kicked off the U.S. Government Relations Chapter Challenge. This effort helps drive GBTA’s efforts in communicating with U.S. members of Congress, raising the profile of the business travel industry and raising funds the Business Travel PAC, which supports those members of Congress who have been supportive of the business travel industry.

Click here for the U.S. Government Relations Chapter Challenge Rules. The Challenge runs from Convention to Convention and will conclude on August 1. The Challenge Partners and Winners will be celebrated in San Diego at the GBTA Convention.

U.S. Legislative Summit: After taking 2020 and 2021 off for COVID reasons, GBTA is hosting the U.S. Legislative Summit in June. Registration is OPEN All U.S. residents are invited to attend, learn about the issues impacting business travel and meet with your elected representatives to share our ideas on how we can help the industry! Click here to learn more and register  – Now for a blast to the past, here is a promo video from 2013 – We even have a person in the video who is running for Congress! TBV – if you are reading and I know you are, I couldn’t find the “Sizzle Video” from 2016. Hopefully you have it and can send it to me for future use! PS – GBTA is looking into hosting similar events in the EU and Canada.

Closing thoughts: As I have stated in a few meeting, we have been facing many headwinds, but it sure feels like we are making progress and tacking back and forth against those headwinds across the COVID ocean. We just need to continue to progress and to do that we need your help and voice. THANK YOU!

Contest: The songs chosen under “Global Action” where done for a reason – all incorporate travel, WHO (The Who), U.K. (Beatles), Canada (Steppenwolf – I wanted to go with Rush, but…) U.S. (Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen) – but can anyone guess why I chose Indochine for the EU? The winner gets to be the lead song in the next Politics of Travel.

P.S. tell your friends to sign up here


Shane Downey
Vice President, Government & Community Relations
[email protected]
(O) 703 236-1131
(C) 703 459-7425