The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) have published a set of recommendations for safely re-opening customer-facing businesses in the age of COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread disruptions to global supply chains and businesses of all sizes. The Travel & Tourism sector has been particularly impacted by the current pandemic due to travel restrictions, declining traveller confidence and reduced consumer demand.
In recognition of the challenges faced by the travel and tourism industry, ICC and WTTC have released a Quick Restart Guide for Employers to provide businesses with recommendations for ensuring operational readiness, preparing staff and limiting risk of exposure to the virus within workplaces.
The guidance was released as part of a virtual meeting between ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO and WTTC President & CEO Gloria Guevara. During the meeting, both leaders acknowledged that the Travel & Tourism sector will need to implement new measures, such as the WTTC Safe Travels protocols, fortify knowledge sharing and institute careful plans, to ensure that businesses can operate safely in the age of COVID-19.
Mr Denton said: "With over 150 million travel and tourism jobs lost since the outbreak of COVID-19, more needs to be done to address the challenges faced by these businesses - many of which are SMEs with limited resources. It's critical for ICC and our global network to engage with travel and tourism businesses as we work together to reinstate consumer confidence, protect employees and safely re-open our economies."
Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO, said: "Travel & Tourism is a highly interconnected sector, the devastating impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on businesses across the global Travel & Tourism sector, is also causing extraordinary damage outside of our sector, impacting millions of jobs and livelihoods around the world. Our guide provides recommendations for businesses around the world, be they large enterprises or SME's, to ensure employees are able to return to their place of work safely and are in line with WTTC's Safe Travels protocols."
The ICC-WTTC guidance is divided into clear categories to help travel and tourism businesses restart their operations safely. From rebuilding trust and confidence with customers to preparing staff returning to workplaces, the guidance provides travel and tourism businesses with a checklist of considerations for reopening.
During their meeting, the two discussed collaboration on digital platforms aimed at reopening economies and borders for international travel. Mr Denton provided an update on ICC AOKpass - a risk mitigation tool that facilitates cross-border travellers to present digitally authenticated and secure medical records to border authorities - and offered ICC's support in promoting the WTTC Safe Travels Protocols and Stamp, the world's first ever global safety and hygiene stamp.
Earlier this year, ICC and WTTC co-organised a webinar on the consequences of COVID-19 for small- and medium-sized enterprises operating within the travel and tourism sector. Hosted by ICC's Centre for Entrepreneurship in Istanbul, the webinar gathered leaders from across the travel and tourism industry to discuss the ramifications of the pandemic and the measures designed to contain its spread.
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) represents the global travel & tourism private sector. Members include 200 CEOs, Chairs and Presidents of the world's leading travel & tourism companies from all geographies covering all industries. For more than 30 years, WTTC has been committed to raising the awareness of governments and the public of the economic and social significance of the travel & tourism sector.
According to WTTC's 2021 Economic Impact Report, during 2020, a year in which it was devasted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Travel & Tourism made a 5.5% contribution to global GDP and was responsible for 272 million jobs.