Weekly Now: The White House’s Plan to Reopen International Travel

With international travel into the U.S. limited at this time, the White House is taking steps to analyze when that can change—heeding concerns from travel industry groups. Also: The NCAA works to improve equity between its men’s and women’s college basketball tournaments.

One of the key elements that will help bring the events industry back to life is an influx of international attendees, who largely have not been able to visit the U.S. during the pandemic.

But the Biden administration is taking steps to figure out what a reopening might look like, reports The Washington Post. The paper revealed last week that the White House will create expert working groups, led by the White House COVID-19 Response Team and the National Security Council, to help determine when to lift bans on international travel.

The move comes as associations—particularly travel industry groups such as the U.S. Travel Association and Airlines for America—have been making the case to allow international travelers to visit the U.S. if they follow certain rules.

One other factor pushing the move is that other Western nations, such as France, have lifted travel bans on Americans visiting their own countries—meaning that the U.S. is lagging behind on a key diplomatic issue, notes the Post.

Other recent headlines:

NCAA focuses on inequities in women’s tournament. In the wake of recent reports that the NCAA men’s and women’s Division I basketball tournaments received dramatically different amenities, the college athletics association’s women’s basketball oversight committee says it will move to make the events more equal. One key change: allowing both tournaments to use “March Madness” to describe themselves—a break from the past, when only the men’s tournament had rights to that name, according to Reuters. “The oversight committee is dedicated to moving quickly to bring positive changes to the sport of women’s basketball,” said Lisa Campos, athletics director for the University of Texas at San Antonio and committee chair, in comments to the wire service.

Vending machine group helps industry get “back to it.” The National Automatic Merchandising Association has created reopening guidelines for its members and partners, with a new initiative called Back to It.” The effort aims to help improve business intelligence as the market shifts in favor of reopening. “While much has changed and the post-pandemic workplace continues to evolve, one thing is certain: The convenience services industry is ready to continue to do what it does best—meet consumers where they are,” NAMA CEO Carla Balakgie, CAE, said in a news release.

Leadership Off the Court

Taking on the issues that bother your constituents is often the mark of a strong leader.

CJ McCollum, a star player for the Portland Trail Blazers and current vice president of the National Basketball Players Association, highlighted this point in a recent interview with Harvard Business Review for its Race at Work podcast, in which he discussed the issues that concerned players in the league—including COVID-19 and recent racial unrest. McCollum noted that the association worked with the league to underline the issues of racial equality—which affected many players, particularly the 80 percent of the league that is African American and comes from inner-city settings.

“Certain people that work within the NBA were never exposed to that. So they don’t understand that side of it,” he said. So us being able to kind of sit down and have those conversations, we sit down with our governors, the ownership groups, with the NBA, and kind of explain to them why we feel the way we feel and how they can help us.”

This discussion, McCollum added, led to initiatives like the decision to open up arenas as election polling places last fall.

Be sure to check out the full episode for more details.


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Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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