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UPDATE 1-International travel searches spike after U.S. moves to ease curbs

(Adds more on searches, figures from Expedia, Delta Air Lines comment)

WASHINGTON, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Travel website Kayak said on Monday searches related to international travel to the United States spiked 48% on Saturday, from the same day one week earlier.

This followed the White House’s announcement on Friday that it would lift COVID-19 travel restrictions for fully vaccinated international visitors starting Nov. 8.

Kayak is owned and operated by Booking Holdings Inc .

Separately, Expedia said on Monday that there was a 28% increase in UK travelers and a 24% increase in French travelers searching for hotels in the United States, comparing Oct. 8-10 to Oct. 15-17.

Delta Air Lines Chief Executive Ed Bastian said last week before the White House’s statement that the airline had seen “improving trends internationally, spurred by the decision to lift” the restrictions, announced in September.

“Thanks to this important policy change, many families are going to be reunited this holiday season for the first time in almost two years,” Bastian said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said late Friday that foreign nationals who had received mixed doses of vaccines would be eligible to travel to the United States, but additional questions remain to be answered, including the government’s policies on exemptions, including for children. (Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru and David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Steve Orlofsky)

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