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For the Meetings Industry, Perfect Timing

The first day that fully vaccinated foreign visitors can start entering the U.S., November 8, is also the first day of IMEX America, one of the world’s largest events-industry shows.

In September, the White House announced that travel restrictions on foreign visitors would be eased in November, but the question remained when in November?

Well, that date has finally been announced, and it’s a win for one of the biggest meeting and incentive industry events of the year.

The new U.S. travel policy that allows fully vaccinated foreign nationals to travel to the U.S. will take effect November 8 and applies to both international air travel and land travel. That’s the same day the 10th edition of IMEX America begins its run at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

“We’re absolutely delighted that the U.S. is easing travel restrictions from across the world into America from November 8,” commented IMEX Group’s Chairman Ray Bloom and CEO Carina Bauer in a statement. “This decision is a massive morale booster for the industry. More importantly, it increases momentum for the U.S. economy and its labor market and for the international travel sector in general.”

The U.S. Travel Association, which has long called for the expeditious but safe reopening of U.S. borders, also applauded news of the opening date. “The date is critically important for planning—for airlines, for travel-supported businesses, and for millions of travelers worldwide who will now advance plans to visit the United States once again. Reopening to international visitors will provide a jolt to the economy and accelerate the return of travel-related jobs that were lost due to travel restrictions,” said U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow. “We applaud the administration for recognizing the value of international travel to our economy and our country, and for working to safely reopen our borders and reconnect America to the world.”

To help airlines prepare their systems, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had already announced that all vaccines that are FDA authorized or approved by the Food and Drug Administration, or listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization, will meet the criteria for travel to the U.S.

Before boarding a flight, non-U.S. air travelers will need to show proof of vaccination and proof of a recent negative Covid-19 test. Foreign visitors crossing a land border will not need to show a recent negative test. Operational details on how travelers will present proof of vaccination have not yet been released.

Proof of vaccination is also required to attend IMEX America, and the organization is asking attendees to certify their status by using Health Pass by CLEAR (U.S. nationals) or Safe Expo (international attendees). The show begins with an educational program, “Smart Monday,” on November 8, followed by a trade show November 9 to 11.

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