The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and major international industry bodies have joined forces to call for the immediate restoration of international travel using proven processes and without waiting for or requiring vaccinations.
WTTC, which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector, along with Airports Council International (ACI), the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), released a statement on Monday underlining that “the world cannot wait for the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines”.
The WTTC said it recognises that public health is paramount and welcomes the recent roll out of the game changing vaccines, which in the long-term will play a major role in combating coronavirus and restoring international travel.
“However, it will take considerable time to vaccinate the world and for the vaccines to have a significant effect on the global population, and the global Travel & Tourism sector simply cannot wait,” said WTTC President & CEO Gloria Guevara.
According to the WTTC, vaccination must not be a requirement to travel as this would further delay the revival of the already ailing sector.
Moreover, the WTTC adds that the safe opening of existing travel corridors such as London Heathrow – Dubai, with appropriate testing and hygiene protocols, demonstrates that international travel can already take place at minimal and acceptable risk.
“Governments must now demonstrate leadership by opening bilateral travel corridors on key international routes with countries that apply the same robust risk management processes,” said Guevara.
Four key measures to restart travel
Together with ACI, WEF, and ICC, WTTC has identified four key measures which need to be implemented to restore international travel safely, including:
– globally recognised testing regimes before departure
– common health and hygiene protocols such as the WTTC Safe Travels Protocols
– a risk management regime that are aligned with the recommendations set out by ICAO and in accordance with the EASA/ECDC guidelines
– internationally consistent and recognised travel passes such as CommonPass, AOK Pass and IATA Travel Pass.
Restart of international travel will save jobs
The WTTC is calling for international travel to restart now to save itself, millions of jobs in the sector and beyond, and the global economy.
“Getting people back to work will also provide enormous health benefits to those around the world, whose livelihoods have been affected by the devastating COVID-19 pandemic,” the WTTC said.
Recent research from WTTC shows a staggering 174 million global Travel & Tourism jobs are now threatened.
According to WTTC’s 2020 Economic Impact Report, in 2019 Travel & Tourism was responsible for one in 10 jobs (330 million in total), making a 10.3 percent contribution to global GDP and generating one in four of all new jobs.