WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Saturday, U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued a statement responding to increased travel restrictions around the United Kingdom and Ireland.
“The public’s health and safety is priority No. 1, and we hope the aggressive steps taken by the federal government succeed in putting the moment of greatest concern behind us. Hearing of the need to further expand travel restrictions—especially the inclusion of our No. 1 overseas source market, the UK—is obviously not the development the U.S. travel industry was hoping for. Aggressive steps will also be needed to address the health of the U.S. economy, the small businesses that makeup 83 percent of all U.S. travel employers, and the 15.8 million travel-supported jobs that are going to feel a catastrophic impact from coronavirus.”
The UK accounted for 4.7 million visitors to the United States in 2018 and $15.7 billion in spending. That same year, 531,000 Irish visitors to the United States spent $2 billion.
The increased travel restrictions come just days after the announcement of the suspension of most air travel to and from Europe. In a statement released on Thursday, Dow said that the increased travel restrictions would compound the impact that coronavirus is having on the U.S. travel industry. According to U.S. Travel Association economists, 850,000 international visitors flying from Europe (excluding the United Kingdom) entered the United States in March 2019, accounting for about 29 percent of total overseas arrivals to the United States and approximately $3.4 billion in spending.