A return to normal travel operations between the United States and the United Kingdom is on the horizon.
According to reports, U.S. President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce their joint plan to ease COVID-19 travel restrictions ahead of this week’s Group of Seven (G7) meeting in Cornwall, U.K.
A full plan could come as soon as Thursday as Biden and Johnson meet in person for the first time since last November’s U.S. election.
On Wednesday, Johnson compared the agreement to the post-World War II agreement that the two countries struck to aid in recovering from that challenge. He also said that the agreement will address “how to build back better from the coronavirus pandemic.”
“The agreements President Biden and I will make today, rooted as they are in our shared values and outlook, will form the foundation of a sustainable global recovery,” Johnson said.
The plan will likely include a new joint, travel task force that will work to put together a plan to ensure a shared international travel policy between the two. Plans for a travel corridor between the two countries are likely to be included, as well, and could be put into place quickly.
In a statement reacting to the news, U.S. Travel president and CEO applauded the move and called it a “smart, science-based step to take for both countries.”
“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. With abundant evidence that travel is safe with layered health measures in place—and a clear economic need to reopen international travel—moving to reduce travel restrictions between the two countries is the perfect place to start,” Dow said.
U.S. Travel added that even though the industry’s recovery is well underway, there is still a long way to go and opening travel to the U.K. would help the industry speed up its recovery.
“The unemployment rate in the U.S. travel industry is currently more than double the national average, and seizing opportunities to safely reopen all segments of travel will potentially restore millions of jobs and hundreds of billions in economic activity,” he said.
Travel between the two countries has been closed since March 2020. While there have been rumors about a reopening for some time, along with pressure mounting from both the public and the travel industry, no concrete plan had been announced.
Both countries are well ahead of the rest of the world in vaccination progress. In the U.S., according to Bloomberg’s vaccination tracker, 42.5% of the population is fully vaccinated, while the U.K. has slightly more at 42.7%.