After 20 months, the US has reopened its borders to fully vaccinated UK travellers, and as projected, an influx of UK travellers is expected to enter the country.
The travel ban was imposed by former President Donald Trump to stop the spread of Covid-19. However, the US borders were initially closed to travellers from China in early 2020; it was then extended to other countries such as the UK,
It undoubtedly affected many non-US citizens from over 30 countries, including the UK and EU states, separating families and stalling tourism.
Several airlines are expecting a surge in demand for flights as the restrictions are lifted for those who are fully vaccinated.
According to many surveys, almost 80% of UK travellers said they would visit the US in the upcoming months; this is also backed up by more UK citizens getting vaccinated every day.
Jerome Thomann, head of Paris-based travel agency Jetset Voyages told Reuters news agency that his team had seen an “incredible upturn” in bookings.
A representative of United Airlines had said that they expect to see a 50% increase in international inbound passengers, while Ed Bastian, the chief executive of Delta Airlines, had warned travellers to expect long queues.
He said: “It’s going to be a bit sloppy at first. I can assure you, there will be lines, unfortunately”.
The 20-month long ban barred entry to most non-US citizens who had been in the UK, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil.
Under the new rules, UK travellers will need to show proof of vaccination before flying, get a negative Covid-19 test result within three days of travelling, and hand over their contact information. There will be no quarantine.
The news was received warmly by many citizens. One of them was Alison Henrym, a 63-year-old British mother who told AFP news agency that she would be flying to New York to see her son for the first time in 20 months.
“It’s been so hard – I just want to see my son,” she said.
The US land borders with neighbours Canada and Mexico will also reopen for the fully vaccinated. Thousands of migrants have arrived in areas along Mexico’s border with the US, hoping to take advantage of the newly-relaxed rules.