A full recovery in inbound travel to the US is not expected for another three years.
The US Travel Association’s latest forecast came despite pre-departure testing being dropped for international travellers to America ahead of the summer peak.
The organisation said international inbound travel is “making strides” towards recovery, aided by the repeal of the pre-departure testing requirement.
“The sector is projected to grow rapidly through the rest of 2022, and then grow at a slower pace in 2023-2026,” the US Travel Association said.
“A full recovery to pre-pandemic levels – volume and spending – is not expected until 2025.
“However, policy changes can also help accelerate that timeline. If the US reduces wait times for visitor visa interviews to less than 30 days, the US could gain an additional 2.2 million international visitors and $5.2 billion in spending by the end of the 2022.
The association put forward several policy proposalsto restore visa processing operations worldwide:
- Develop a pilot programme for the use of video-conferencing technology in visa interviews with low risk, returning visa applicants and visa applicants with urgent or time sensitive travel.
- Prioritise visa processing resources to the embassies and consulates that have high demand.
- Temporarily extend all visitor visas for a year or waive visa interview requirements for applicants seeking a valid renewal particularly for those presently in the US.
- Consider allowing certain low-risk visa holders currently in the US to renew their visa while staying in the US.
- Develop new ways to make the visa process more efficient for medium-to-large group travellers.
- Delay and reconsider the proposed non-immigrant visa fee increase.