It is the message that many worldwide have been waiting for. The White House announced The United States would reopen in November to air travelers from 33 countries, including most of Europe, the U.K., Brazil, India, and China, who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The cruise industry, in the name of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), has already reacted positively, saying the cruise industry is a major driver for the economy, and international travel accounts for one-fifth of the total cruise passengers embarking in the United States.
End of a 20-Month Travel Ban
The announcement from the Biden administration has seen many in the travel industry, and cruise industry rejoice. It brings an end to nearly 20 months of travel restrictions to the United States. It will make it much easier for international travelers to fly to the States, whether for vacation or business. As long as they are fully vaccinated.
The cruise industry reacted through their lobby organization CLIA, stating the importance the cruise industry plays in the U.S. economy and thanking the Biden administration for taking this critical step:
“Cruise Lines International Association joins our peers across the travel and tourism sector to express our appreciation to the Biden Administration for recognizing the importance of international travel to the U.S. economy and for establishing a path for international visitors to travel to the United States responsibly.”
The move will now allow cruise passengers from the 26 Schengen countries in Europe, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and Greece, as well as Britain, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, and Brazil to travel freely to the United States.
When the new policy will be implemented is unclear at this point, while CLIA has a date of November 19, according to Reuters the White House states the date will be early in November.
Which Vaccines will be Accepted?
The question is now which vaccines will be required to be allowed into the U.S. Travelers will need to present at least proof of vaccination, the White House stating the final decision which vaccines are acceptable lies with the CDC.
“The CDC considers someone fully vaccinated with any FDA-authorized or approved vaccines and any vaccines that (the World Health Organization) has authorized,” said spokesperson Kristen Nordlund to Reuters.
The CDC recently clarified where it stands on whether someone is fully vaccinated or not. Any person who has received a mixed dose of mRNA vaccines (such as Moderna or Pfizer) is considered fully vaccinated 14 days after the last shot.
Anyone who has received mixed vaccinations from an mRNA vaccine and a shot of AstraZeneca is not considered fully vaccinated. The approved vaccines from the WHO include seven different vaccines at this point. These are Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson (Jannsen), Oxford/AstraZeneca, Covishield (Oxford/AstraZeneca formulation), Sinopharm, and Sinovac.
Several cruise lines have already adopted new strategies to accommodate the clarification from the CDC.
The announcement means excellent news for anyone involved in the cruise industry. Not only will it allow more passengers to come to the United States to cruise, but it will also boost the local economies around the major cruise homeports.
Approximately 2.5 million visitors traveled to the United States in 2019 to join a cruise ship. This accounts for nearly one-fifth of all guests who sailed from a U.S. port in that year. According to CLIA, these guests spend $4.5 billion annually on hotel stays, transportation, retail, and other U.S. businesses, supporting nearly 60,000 American jobs.
With cruise ships planning to sail with more and more guests towards the end of this year and more ships coming online, the influx of passengers will be a welcome sight for many.