SF tourism won't fully recover until 2025 despite U.S. lifting Intl. travel ban in November: Experts

"In 2019, the year before COVID, 63% of all tourism coming into San Francisco was done by international visitors," an expert says.
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- After a 21-month travel ban, international tourists are weeks away from being allowed back in the United States.

Travel Agent Edward Siu, who owns Classic Tour, is counting down the days.

"Right here, November the 8th," said Siu pointing to a calendar.

RELATED: White House says fully vaccinated foreign visitors can start entering US on Nov. 8

The White House announced the U.S. will welcome back international travelers from 26 countries including France, Italy and China. There are two requirements; they need to be fully vaccinated and show proof of a recent negative COVID test.

Travel agent Jean-Francois Drageon owner of Calparrio Travel has been getting calls the whole day.

"Within minutes. As soon as we found out I had about 20 calls," said Drageon.

VIDEO: US to reopen land borders in November for fully vaccinated
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The U.S. is set to reopen its land borders to nonessential travel next month, ending a 19-month freeze due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is the boost the Bay Area's tourism industry had been waiting for.

"It's really important that these borders are reopening," said Joe D'Alessandro, President and CEO of SF Travel. "In 2019, the year before COVID, 63% of all tourism coming into San Francisco was done by international visitors."

Now, the next hurdle is airlines. Travel agents are concerned the cancellation of nonstop flights will impact tourism.

"United Airlines cancelled their flight to Paris non-stop and they are going to restart on the 1st of December," said Drageon.

RELATED: Growing number of medical experts urge COVID vaccine requirement for domestic air travel

Travelers coming from Asia will face another setback going back home.

"Going back they have to quarantine for 14-21 nights. That is a major problem," said Siu.

That is one of the many reasons SF Travel says they won't see pre-pandemic tourism numbers until years from now.

"Until 2025 so we are a long way away," said D'Alessandro.

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