London, United Kingdom - Following various meetings with governments around the world and a letter signed by 120 CEOs of private companies, addressed to the Heads of State of the G7, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC, for its acronym in English) hopes to finalize an international plan to save the travel and tourism industry from the worst threat in its history, due to the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The WTTC, representing the global private travel and tourism sector, has called on international leadership to save the struggling sector and protect millions of jobs threatened by border controls and measures quarantine, as well as lower demand from business and leisure travelers. The Council highlights the urgency of an international consensus on rapid tests for travelers, to restore confidence and security.
The European Union is expected to endorse an international agreement at the region's Tourism Ministers meeting on September 28, and more broadly across the G20 group of countries in early October. The international plan, which could be sealed in October, focuses on:
- Ensure widespread international agreement on standardized departure testing protocols, including non-quarantine for travelers.
- Each government guarantees the protection of travelers and ensures that resources are reserved for eventual repatriation.
- Establish an agreement on a traffic light system to report COVID-19 numbers to ensure global consistency, with quarantine periods reduced or eliminated, based on cases above or below 25 / 100,000 of the population over a period of 14 days.
- Piloting air corridors to resume international and business travel.
The agreements hope to reverse travel restrictions, such as general quarantines, that have caused the collapse of international travel and the number of visitors.
Gloria Guevara Manzo, President and CEO of the WTTC, said: "We are greatly encouraged that governments face the challenge of removing such harmful restrictions, and we fully support the recent decision of the Spanish government, which appears to be poised to introduce a policy on evidence of travelers on departure in the Canary Islands to help create travel corridors".
"He assured that the Council works closely with world leaders to save the global travel and tourism sector, by creating an international consensus on the application of tests, to provide certainty to travelers and consistent COVID-19 reports."
"Agreed international protocols on testing travelers on departure could be the key to removing devastating travel restrictions, which have affected consumer confidence to travel and hampered hopes of a much needed economic revival. urgently," he added.
To restart business travel, the World Travel and Tourism Council recently called for the reopening of air corridors, which could provide a significant economic boost to struggling economies.
Each year, inbound international business travel represents more than $ 272 billion. International airlines and businesses throughout the travel and tourism industry are highly dependent on business travel, especially on highly competitive transatlantic routes.
A WTTC analysis of Public Health England data suggested that two tests in rapid succession could be 80% effective in identifying passengers with COVID-19 and therefore reducing the quarantine period from 14 days to four to six days, or no quarantine at all. In addition, information from Stanford and the Harvard School of Public Health validated that exit testing, combined with the use of a mask and implementation of protocols, can reduce risk and allow safe travel.
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.