President-Elect Joe Biden is scheduled to take office at the beginning of 2021. Infrastructure, Economic and Border Policies are some of the things you can expect for his administration to address when it comes to changes in travel.
The U.S presidential race was contested earlier this month, and barring any chances of President Donald Trump’s fraud allegations turning around the election, Joe Biden will take office at the start of next year.
With new leadership in the White House under an opposing party, the direction of nearly all sectors, including travel, is expected to be impacted.
Upon examination of Biden’s campaign strategy and policies, here’s a look at what may be in store for travel under a Biden presidency.
According to the plan, Biden has promised to make US airports the best in the world. He intends to achieve this by doubling the current funding for airports through the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Airport Improvement Program, as well as launch grant programs for airport renovation projects.
Biden also intends to work with the FAA to fully implement its NextGen technology system in order to modernize airspace, reduce delays and cancellations, and improve safety.
The COVID pandemic was exceptionally hostile to the airlines and tourism industry.
Recently, US airlines have had to lay off thousands of employees, as they did not possess the cash flow for payroll. The layoffs had been held off from occurring earlier, due to a government stimulus enacted earlier this year by President Trump. However, the stimulus funds expired in the end of September, with no additional help coming through, due to disagreement in congress.
The disagreement was over the amount of relief which would be made available, with the house Democrats proposing to give more than the Republicans. Airlines have stated they would require $25 billion to avoid layoffs, an amount proposed by the Democrats. As such, it is widely believed that Biden would provide the relief the industry needs once he takes office, through the CARES Act.
The President and CEO of the US Travel Association, Roger Dow, congratulated Biden earlier this month.
‘We applaud President-elect Biden’s objective of helping the industries most heavily impacted by the pandemic. The travel industry accounts for more than a third of overall U.S. unemployment, and policies to promote relief, recovery, and stimulus for travel businesses are integral to a U.S. economic turnaround’ stated Dow.
Biden has explicitly stated that he plans to end President Trump’s well-known travel ban, which is unconnected to the COVID pandemic and was enacted in 2017, currently restricting travel from 13 countries.
At the time of the travel ban, many analysts projected adverse effects on the economy and tourism. The unintended effects on tourism came as tourists from eligible countries felt an ‘unwelcoming’ sentiment from the ban, and opted for alternate destinations.
Subsequently, Biden’s reversal of the ban is believed to be welcoming news for the tourism industry, as well as the economy overall.
Tough Road Ahead
Provided the circumstances COVID has brought, Biden will be presented with a great deal of challenges during his term in office.
A recent report by a US travel group has estimated that US travel spending will not return to pre-coronavirus levels until 2024. Further, the report estimates spending for 2020 to be at $617 billion, down from $1.13 trillion in 2019.
President Trump’s administration has received a great deal of criticism due to economic figures in 2020, however, many critics often fail to attribute the problem adequately to the global pandemic.
Exactly how well will Biden’s leadership perform under these circumstances? Only time will tell.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories