United States international borders will open Nov. 8


GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – (KREX) The United States announced new international air travel regulations that will finally open US borders to all vaccinated foreign travelers starting November 8th.

Once the travel ban is dropped, popular tourist hot spots may see a big boost in both domestic and international visitors.

The Grand Valley may be hidden by a long stretch of mountains, but that doesn’t stop travelers from around the world venturing to our neck of the woods to experience the Western Slope lifestyle. “We’re certainty encouraged that the US boarders are opening to international travel, this certainty is a sign that we are returning to some form of normalcy in the hospitality industry,” Elizabeth Fogarty, Director of Visit Grand Junction says.

Tourism and hospitality were among the most heavily impacted local industries during the pandemic, now with the travel ban lifting, the recovery process can begin. “International travelers are approximately 3% of our visitation in Grand Junction, however on average they do spend three times more then a domestic traveler so certainly the economic impact to our community is positive,” Fogarty explains.

But what is it about Western Colorado, that inspires visitors from around the world to make the journey? “International travelers tend to visit the Colorado National Monument, they certainly love to shop so our downtown shops and activity based businesses certainly benefit from international travel and even Mesa Mall sees a fair amount.”

The Colorado National Monument’s natural beauty has drawn visitors since it first opened in 1911 and the recent pandemic counts among its toughest years yet. “From my perspective from 2016 to 2019, we had a fair number of visitors from Europe and the Asian nations, then of course in 2020 with the COVID pandemic, all of that pretty much stopped and now we are looking forward to seeing them again,” Arlene Jackson, Chief of Interpretation at Colorado National Monument says.

The surprise news during the pandemic was the unexpected increase in domestic travel, Americans experiencing the monument for the first time. “We had from 2019 to 2020 almost 40,000 more visitors to the Colorado Monument and many of those were people that had never been here before and I’d like to think that they had a really good time and will want to come back,” Jackson said.

While borders are lifted starting November 8th all travelers will need to show proof of full vaccination prior to boarding US bound planes.

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