In a joint letter, five travel associations representing hundreds of thousands of individuals who work at travel agencies are calling on government leaders to come together and immediately prioritize the safe resumption of international travel.

The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA), Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Associations (ECTAA) agree that there is an urgent need to standardize entry requirements regarding vaccine verification and testing.

They point to criticism that the current process is confusing to both consumers and businesses alike, and detrimental to the health of the global travel industry.

For well over a year, inconsistent government orders in a wide range of countries intended to slow the spread of COVID-19 have created confusion and uncertainty among travelers, a chilling effect on future bookings and innumerable other challenges for our associations’ travel agency members and partners.

“For well over a year, inconsistent government orders in a wide range of countries intended to slow the spread of COVID-19 have created confusion and uncertainty among travelers, a chilling effect on future bookings and innumerable other challenges for our associations’ travel agency members and partners,” reads the letter. 

The associations point to the EU’s recent recommendations on non-essential travel as an example of a government action that caused further uncertainty among travelers, furthering the devastating effect of COVID-19 on the global economy. 

Finally, the associations believe that governments should “follow the science” and loosen travel restrictions on vaccinated travelers.

“The science behind masking indoors and becoming vaccinated was meant to ease government and public health officials’ COVID-19 concerns,” reads the letter. “Unfortunately, this has not occurred as many requirements have not changed since the start of the pandemic, regardless of whether the traveler is vaccinated or not.”

The letter closes with ASTA, ABTA, ACTA, CHTA and ECTAA calling on international government leaders to coalesce around a synchronized, three-part response consisting of “expeditiously developing clear vaccine and testing standards; loosening entry restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers; and providing the needed economic relief to the travel agency sector suffering for too long the bitter consequences of travel’s hard-stop brought on by the pandemic.”