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Loosening Of Foreign Air Travel Rules Adds Hope To San Diego Tourism Industry

An airplane landing at San Diego International Airport, November, 18, 2016.
Megan Wood
An airplane landing at San Diego International Airport, November, 18, 2016.
SANDAG economist says local tourism has been "devastated" during the pandemic, but thinks more foreign air travel will help tourist economy recover.

The U.S. on Monday announced the loosening of international travel restrictions for many foreign travelers wishing to visit the country.

The new regulations, which apply strictly to air travel, will require proof of vaccination and a negative test, and take effect in November.

Ray Major, chief economist for San Diego Association of Governments, joined Midday Edition on Tuesday to talk about the potential impact the announced changes will have on San Diego's economy.

San Diego's tourism industry has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, due in part to an 83% drop in international passengers. Though the majority of the area's tourism comes from domestic and business travelers, Major said that international travelers spend a longer amount of time in the area and spend more during their stay.

Though San Diego is still down some 35,500 tourism jobs since the pandemic began, Major remains optimistic "that San Diego will be a destination that's at the top of the list for most people, and that our tourism industry will be able to recover close to what we were before the pandemic hit."