COVID-19 has played havoc with the travel industry. Hotels, airlines, cruise ships, car rental companies, restaurants, travel agencies and tour operators, among several other travel-related industries, have lost billions upon billions of dollars. Some establishments have closed permanently and others are looking at that possibility.
Even before coronavirus, the Trump administration had attempted to tamp down on certain travel, with varying amounts of success. Incoming travel bans based on religion or country, and outgoing travel to Cuba have experienced changes since Trump took office in January, 2017.
I count any inability to travel, regardless of where it is, a negative. So with all the negatives to travel that have happened under the Trump administration, the question has to be asked – what will the future travel industry be like under a Biden administration?
Joe Biden has promised to be significantly more pro-active regarding coronavirus than Trump. Case in point, just two days after winning the election, he’s already announced a 13-member virus task force.
Mr. Biden has said that “dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is one of the most important battles our administration will face, and I will be informed by science and by experts.” As outlined on this page of the Biden-Harris transition website, the work they’ll do should help with decreasing the number of cases in the U.S. That, in turn, will make travel safer, be it by plane, in a hotel, or at a popular tourist attraction where crowds tend to gather. This should especially happen when they begin mandating mask use any time Americans are around people outside their household. Hopefully, with more enforcement and follow-through via more cooperation from local governments, there will be more compliance.
President-Elect Biden has also said he plans on undoing the executive orders that Trump has made over the years. Those that don’t require intervention from the Senate can be fixed quickly, and Biden has already said he plans to repeal the travel ban from many Muslim countries. Although the reason for that ban was to stop immigrants, refugees and visa holders from entering the U.S., it also meant that citizens of those countries couldn’t come to the U.S. for tourism or, more importantly, to visit family members living in the U.S.
Biden has also said on more than one occasion that he plans to reverse the sanctions the Trump administration has put on Cuba, which was meant to harm the country of Cuba but has more so harmed the people of Cuba.
The Obama administration restored diplomatic relations with Cuba and loosened restrictions on travel there.
“What the United States was doing was not working,” Obama had said from Havana during his 2016 visit. “We have to have the courage to acknowledge that truth. A policy of isolation designed for the Cold War made little sense in the 21st century.”
The Trump administration slowly removed most of the paths for that travel and imposed new and old sanctions against the country. However, Biden has other ideas.
“I’d try to reverse the failed Trump policies. It inflicted harm on Cubans and their families,” Biden said in an interview in September. “It’s done nothing to advance democracy and human rights. On the contrary, the crackdown on Cubans by the regime has gotten worse under Trump, not better.”
Hopefully the reversals of the Biden era will restore ease of travel to Cuba.
So what will the future travel industry be like under a Biden administration? I’m happy to say that I suspect it will become closer to the travel we all used to enjoy, both pre-COVID and, I daresay, pre-Trump.
Feature Photo: PIxabay
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary