We hope your American Independence Day was a joyful day and your holiday was both fun and safe.

As you may have heard, nearly 50 million Americans traveled over the holiday many by car and most within the USA – that rivaled the busiest pre-pandemic holiday for the country. We were hoping that we would also receive good news in regard to reciprocal border openings near the holiday period as restrictions for travel have eased up significantly. But that did not happen. While there is much speculation around when the USA borders reopening for international visitors, we continue to monitor the situation closely. In various gateway cities around the USA the bulk of international direct flights are planned to resume by or around the Labor Day holiday, the week of September 6th. We hope that this will materialize, so we can plan to be together at IPW in Las Vegas at the end of September and get back to business. We are so ready!

The vaccination rate continues to rise

Across the region, vaccination programs are progressing well and the percentage of population who are fully vaccinated continues to rise. In the Netherlands, we have reached a 99% vaccination completion rate for those eligible, with 41% of the total population being fully vaccinated, which ranks the Netherlands in the top-10 for completed vaccinations in Europe. And as the vaccination rate continues to rise, the restrictions continue to ease.

Opportunities and challenges while opening up

We are now in Phase 4 of reopening with more normalcy returning to our daily lives. There is no mandatory masking unless social distancing cannot be guaranteed, and people are returning to gatherings, restaurants, bars, the cinema and shopping. And as people move more freely, the demand for long-haul travel continues compound.

On the other hand, we also face challenges while opening up. The number of infections rise, however not among the vulnerable people and fewer people are hospitalized. This proves that vaccinating is the way to open up the world. With vaccinated people we can safely reopen international travel with proper safety measures in place.

Hope for international travel to the USA

We do hope Biden is actually coming with more information on the timing for lifting international travel bans within the next several days. Each day that outdated restrictions on travel exist wreaks economic damage. So together with U.S. Travel we urge, in accordance with the latest science, to swiftly revise the entry policies on international travel.

We hope to meet you all soon in person!

Stay safe, stay healthy,