U.S. President Joe Biden and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will work together to reopen the U.S.-U.K. travel corridor, according to an announcement by the two leaders ahead of the annual Group of Seven meeting.
Biden and Johnson met together on June 10 in southwestern England to discuss a number of issues, including easing restrictions on international travel.
Following the meeting, the pair released a joint five-page statement that outlined plans to set up a task force that will make recommendations on resuming travel between the U.S. and the U.K., which has been largely shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Leading up to the G7 summit, which kicked off on June 11, several airlines that offer transatlantic passenger flights urged Biden and Johnson to reopen travel between their two nations as soon as possible.
U.S. Travel Association CEO Roger Dow also pushed the leaders to move quickly on the issue, citing the the strong vaccination rates in both the U.S. and the U.K.
“Opening a U.S.-U.K. travel corridor is a smart, science-based step to take for both countries’ economic recoveries, and now is the critical time to take it,” Dow said. “The U.S. and the U.K. both have among the world’s leading records on vaccinations and declining infections. The U.K. is our top overseas travel market, and the two governments enjoy a close relationship.”
Dow also said that there is “abundant evidence” that transatlantic flights are safe when proper health protocols are followed.
In a statement, World Travel and Tourism Senior Vice-President Virginia Messina said more travel industry jobs will be lost unless Biden and Johnson set a clear time frame for the resumption of international travel.
“Whilst we welcome the news of a task force aimed at safely reopening travel between the U.K. and the U.S., unless we have a clear timeline and unlock transatlantic travel by 4 July at the latest, we will continue to see jobs lost and businesses go under,” Messina said.
In early June, European Union countries Spain, France and Denmark reopened their borders to fully vaccinated American tourists. Italy and Greece have also started welcoming U.S. travelers.
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still lists many Schengen nations as “high risk.”