US Travel Group Urges Biden to Rethink Omicron Travel Bans

By Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Reporter
Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he's ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: 'Hit your target' and 'leave the best for last.'
November 29, 2021 Updated: November 29, 2021

The U.S. Travel Association, which represents some 1,100 businesses in America’s $1.5 trillion travel industry, is urging President Joe Biden to reconsider his imposition of a travel ban in response to Omicron, the new variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

In a Nov. 29 statement, the association said it “respectfully urges the Biden administration to revisit the reinstatement of country-specific entry bans in the near term,” with the request coming days after Biden moved to restrict travel from South Africa and seven other countries in the region.

The Omicron variant, which has a number of unusual mutations that could make it more transmissible, has now been reported in Canada, the United Kingdom, many European Union countries, Israel, and others outside the African continent. It remains unclear whether the federal government will now move to suspend travel from any countries reporting cases of the variant.

In announcing the travel ban last week, Biden called it a “precautionary measure” until there’s more information about the new variant.

The U.S. Travel Association said that COVID-19 variants “are of concern, but closed borders have not prevented their presence in the United States while vaccinations have proven incredibly durable,” adding that “assessing an individual’s risk and health status is the best way to welcome qualified global travelers into the United States.”

The Epoch Times has reached out to the White House for comment.

In comments from the White House on Nov. 29, Biden said the new variant is a “cause for concern, not a cause for panic,” and urged all Americans to get vaccinated, including booster shots, as other nations are moving to close their borders or impose other restrictions in a bid to curb its spread.

White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that more would be known about Omicron over the next several weeks, adding that he doesn’t think more restrictions in the United States are imminent.

Besides the travel lobby recommending against travel bans, Jim Bianco, president and macro strategist at Bianco Research, warned on Nov. 29 that any restrictions imposed in response to Omicron would fuel faster inflation.

Bianco, in a series of tweets, said he had expected twin messages from Biden, on the one hand encouraging the American consumer to “live your life” and “keep spending at record levels” while on the other, potentially announcing restrictions that Bianco says would put another crimp in the already strained supply chain and push up inflation.

“Record demand and reduced production = more inflation!” Bianco wrote on Twitter.

Noting continued labor market tightness in the United States, Bianco warned that any lockdowns, travel bans, or business restrictions would put more upward pressure on prices.

“We have a ‘great resignation’ underway. We need MORE trade, MORE production, and MORE people going back to work. We don’t need less, and the coming Omicron restrictions mean less,” Bianco wrote in a separate tweet. “Travel bans, lockdowns, other restrictions is going to feed even more inflation.”

Inflation has emerged as a key issue amid the economic recovery, rising faster than wages and eroding the purchasing power of Americans.

Tom Ozimek
Reporter
Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he's ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: 'Hit your target' and 'leave the best for last.'