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Covid-19 Travel Rules Must Be More Consistent, Says WTTC

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) on Friday called for more consistent travel rules and coronavirus (Covid-19) advice by European countries to counter confusion by travellers and holidaymakers.

As underlined in an announcement by WTTC, those journeying to Europe for the first time since travel restrictions began to ease have faced a baffling array of different types of travel rules and advice – with each country across the continent emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic at different stages, which is delaying the recovery.

“The uneven patchwork of Covid-19 national border restrictions and rules across a supposedly single Schengen zone is an obvious deterrent to cross-border movement,” the WTTC said.

According to the Council, unnecessary and inconsistent border constraints are deterring travellers and suppressing the resurgence of Travel & Tourism.

“The sector’s return is urgently needed to regenerate destinations and act as a catalyst for the global economic recovery,” the WTTC added.

WTTC’s President & CEO, Gloria Guevara, pointed out that the lack of coordination among countries has created inconsistencies which means countries are failing to rebuild the trust of potential travellers.

“Anyone travelling from one European country to the next faces a bewildering difference in travel advice, covering masks, testing and contact tracing which could seriously hinder the return of the Travel & Tourism sector,” she said.

WTTC research shows that every 2.7 percent increase in travellers would generate or recover one million jobs in the sector. Governments working together with the right coordinated measures could stimulate an increase in travel by as much as 27 percent, recreating a massive 10 million jobs in Travel and Tourism.

Travelers confused about face masks

Consumer confusion over travel rules such as the wearing of face masks is evident, says the WTTC. It is mandatory on public transport in some countries, such as France and Germany, but only recommended in Norway and Sweden. Meanwhile in Malta, masks must be worn in all public places whereas in Poland they are not if people can respect physical distancing.

Medical advice, including from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health is clear that the use of face masks helps reduce the risk of transmission up to 90 percent, protects the user and those around them, as well as reintroducing a greater sense of normality for travellers.

The WTTC warns that unless European governments make a greater effort to align their policies it will cause the fragile recovery to stutter and slowdown, putting 16 million jobs in Travel & Tourism at risk.

“The time to work together is now. The Travel & Tourism private sector wants to work in partnership with governments and destinations using WTTC’s carefully devised Safe Travels protocols to bring clarity and wipe away consumer confusion,” Guevara said.

According to the WTTC, to align policies, governments need take into consideration more than just mortality rates. Wider country measures, including infection rates, the percentage of tests and contact tracing, the health system’s ability to cope with Covid-19 and the public’s acceptance of mask-wearing and observance of social distancing is also important.

WTTC has recently issued a ten-point Traveller Guideline for Safe & Seamless Travel including testing and contact tracing to ensure people can enjoy Safe Travels in the ‘new normal’.

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