How has the pandemic affected international travel? HIA offers insight

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Plane in sky

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (WHTM) — Harrisburg International Airport has historically seen around eight percent of its travelers using international travel to and from the airport, which has decreased significantly over the last year and a half.

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Many countries have banned travel from the United States or placed vaccination rules in effect to ensure travelers are vaccinated. Because of this, flights to Europe have seen a significant drop. One area that has seen a very steady rate of travel is the Caribbean. “San Juan and St. Thomas are our top two destinations for international travel in 2021. We see about 36 people per day traveling internationally, which is still down from 125 people per day in 2019,” Scott Miller, Deputy Director of Marketing & PR at Harrisburg International Airport said.

“Canada was typically the biggest driver for international traffic from Harrisburg before the pandemic, but their COVID-19 restrictions throughout the pandemic made travel numbers over the border decline sharply,” Miller said. “Europe was also a big travel destination, but [as of October 5, 2021], several countries are either restricting or banning travel from the United States, and that has also put a damper on the number of people who are traveling outside the country.” Sweden and Bulgaria are completely banning travel from the states. France, Germany, Italy, and Spain are requiring travelers to provide proof of vaccination for any trips that are deemed nonessential.

Coronavirus numbers are again beginning to decline across the country, thanks to a slow but steady vaccination push. The delta variant wreaked havoc on hospitals and other care facilities for a majority of the summer, with cases in Pennsylvania pushing back into the thousands and some hospitals reaching max capacity for beds available. It is yet to be seen how travel will be affected for 2022 and beyond, but there’s hope that the world will soon return to what we saw in 2019 and before.

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