DUBLIN, Ireland: The United States has announced that Irish travelers can again enter the U.S. beginning in November.
Taoiseach Michel Martin said he was "delighted" by the Biden administration's decision to lift the U.S. Covid-19 travel ban for fully vaccinated Irishmen.
Martin, in New York for the opening of the UN General Assembly, said the U.S. opening "reflects the progress we've all collectively made on the vaccination front".
The ban was first introduced 18 months ago by former President Donald Trump.
Irishmen to be allowed into the United States will be those who are fully vaccinated and agree to submitting a Covid-19 test and contact tracing information.
Ireland Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney noted that the Government and EU nations had been working to end the U.S. travel ban for a "considerable" time. "Ensuring ease of travel is vital for protecting our strong connections across the Atlantic, be that in business, academia, tourism or family connections," as reported by The Irish Times.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland, which represents more than 700 U.S. companies with operations in the country, said, "This announcement restores the important ability for key Irish and U.S. executives to travel to and from the U.S. Also, given that Ireland is the ninth largest investor in the U.S., it is equally critical for these companies, too."
Others in Ireland's tourism sector also welcomed the American decision. Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, president of the Irish Hotels Federation, said on Twitter that the end of the U.S. travel ban would provide a "much-needed boost for airlines" and was "an important step on the road to tourism recovery".
The White House said that Irishmen entering the U.S. would have to show proof of having been fully vaccinated and present a negative Covid test taken in the previous 72 hours.
They will also have to share their telephone number and email address for contact tracing.
Meanwhile, shares in IAG, the owner of British Airways and Aer Lingus, jumped more than 10 percent on Monday afternoon on news from the United States.
Also on Monday, Paul Charles, an adviser to travel companies, including Finnair and Tourism Ireland, said the reopening of travel to America was "probably the best news for the travel sector yet during the pandemic," according to The Irish Times.
"It's an early Christmas present for BA, Virgin Atlantic and Aer Lingus, who can't fully recover until the transatlantic corridors open up," he said.