Following extensive discussions with a number of governments around the world and a letter signed by 120 CEOs to the Heads of State of the G7, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) believes an internationally coordinated plan to save Travel & Tourism is a step closer. The plan could be sealed by the middle of October.
The WTTC has been in talks with a number of governments regarding a globally coordinated plan of action to bring clarity for travellers on Covid-19 testing and reporting, and to help save the Travel & Tourism sector. The WTTC has been calling for international leadership to save the struggling sector and protect millions of jobs under threat due to border controls and quarantine measures.
WTTC states that an international consensus on traveller testing is urgently needed if confidence in travel is to be restored. It is hopeful that an international agreement will be endorsed by the European Union at a meeting of EU Tourism Ministers on 28 September, and more widely by all of the G20 group of countries in early October.
The coordinated international plan is focused on:
- Securing widespread international agreement on the standardised testing protocols on departure, including no quarantine for travellers
- Each government guaranteeing protection for travellers and ensuring resources are set aside to repatriate travellers
- Establishing agreement on a traffic lights system of reporting COVID-19 numbers to ensure global consistency, with reduced or removed quarantine periods based on cases above or below 25/100,000 of the population over a 14-day period
- Piloting of air corridors to resume international and business travel.
“Governments around the world need to align their policies to create the conditions necessary to ensure the introduction of a comprehensive testing programme with globally-recognised protocols,” said Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO. ““We are encouraged by governments stepping up to the challenge of removing such damaging restrictions.”
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International visitor spending in the UK alone has been predicted by WTTC to plummet by 78% compared to 2019 levels, with up to £22 billion set to be lost from the country’s economy. WTTC has advocated support for a pilot scheme, involving airport-based testing, followed by a second test just days later, to restore business travel between the financial hubs of London and New York and later other cities, such as Dubai, Washington, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
A WTTC analysis of Public Health England data suggested two tests in quick succession could be 80% effective in identifying passengers with COVID-19, and thus reduce the quarantine period down from 14 days to four to six days, or no quarantine at all.
Information from medical experts from Stanford and Harvard School of Public Health validated that testing on departure, combined with wearing a mask and implementing the protocols, can significantly reduce the risk and allows safe travels.
The health and safety of travellers and those who work within the sector is important to the WTTC, and it thus has urged the adoption of global health and safety protocols, through its ‘Safe Travels’ initiative, to provide assurance to travellers and those working within the sector.