CEOs of 14 travel companies sent a letter to President Trump and congressional leaders Monday urging for more COVID-19 testing.
They called for the broadening the availability of efficient, effective, 24-to-48-hour COVID-19 testing to be incorporated in the next legislative package—specifically the TEST Act that has been introduced in the Senate.
“The travel industry has aggressively gathered data on the coronavirus outbreak and its fallout in order to inform our exhaustive deliberations on best health practices, trends and attitudes among travel consumers, and the proper timing of a safe reopening of the American travel economy,” the letter reads in part.
According to data from the U.S. Travel Association (USTA), broader testing—in concert with other key factors such as a robust federal policy framework of relief and stimulus, rigorous health and safety standards adopted by travel-related businesses, and the universal embrace of good health practices (such as the wearing of masks) by the public—is an essential component of reopening and recovery.
It would help keep employees safe and businesses open, promote safe and healthy travel, and restore consumer confidence and generating travel demand.
USTA outlined areas of need, including improving the accuracy and speed of data collection for testing and contract tracing; increasing available resources for research, development and validation of new, rapid and accurate tests; investing in expanded production and testing sites; and updating and expanding the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention testing guidelines.
“The millions of jobs lost to this pandemic across all segments of the travel spectrum can only return if demand for our products and services rebounds. That demand from travelers is inextricably linked to the confidence that rapid and abundant testing will create,” the letter concluded.
In addition to USTA president and CEO Roger Dow, the other signees were Accor North America's Heather McCrory, Best Western's David Kong, Choice Hotels' Pat Pacious, Enterprise Holdings' Chrissy Taylor, Hilton Worldwide's Christopher Nassetta, Host Hotels & Resorts' James Risoleo, Hyatt Hotels Corp.'s Mark Hoplamazian, Las Vegas Sands Corp.'s George Markantonis, InterContinental Hotels Group Americas' Elie Maalouf, Loews Hotels & Co.'s Jonathan Tisch, Marriott International's Arne Sorenson, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts' Geoff Ballotti, and Sabre Corporation’s Sean Menke.