Industry Update
Press Release23 December 2020

Statement By The Global Tourism Crisis Committee

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United nations World Tourism Organization (WTO)

Meeting on the occasion of the Global Tourism Crisis Committee, virtually from Lisbon, Portugal, on 9 December 2020, to accelerate the coordination of international cross-border travel principles and protocols in view of a safe and seamless restart of tourism, the members of the Committee recalled, in line with WHO and ECDC/EASA1 guidance, that:

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  1. The prevalence of COVID-19 in travellers is estimated likely to be lower than the prevalence in the general population or among contacts of confirmed cases.
  2. Travellers should not be considered as a high-risk population and should be subject to the same regulations or recommendations as applied to the local population.
  3. In the current epidemiological situation, quarantine or systematic testing for SARS-CoV-2 of air travellers is not recommended.

The Committee called for

  1. Support for WHO in its efforts to work with partners to update and review evidence-based guidance for international travel consistent with International Health Regulations2 provisions focusing on providing guidance for effective, risk-based, and coherent approaches (including targeted use of diagnostics and shorter quarantine lengths or the abolishment of quarantines) that consider transmission levels, response capacities in origin and destination countries, and relevant travel-specific considerations.
  2. The establishment of internationally agreed evidence-based risk-assessment indicators and their harmonization among countries as is the case of the European Union traffic light system
  3. Countries to ensure that measures affecting international traffic are risk-based, evidence-based, coherent, proportionate and time limited.
  4. The implementation of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) CART Take-off guidance and the Manual on Testing and Cross-border Risk Management Measures3
  5. The stepping up of the coordination regarding the vaccination certificates to ensure a timely definition on common and harmonized principles and protocols related to vaccination certificates and international travel

1 European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and European Union Aviation Safety Agency. Guidelines for COVID-19 testing and quarantine of air travellers - Addendum to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol. 2 December 2020. ECDC: Stockholm; 2020/EASA: Cologne; 2020. https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/Guidelines_for_COVID-19_testing_and_quarantine_of_air_travellers-12-2020.pdf
2 World Health Organization (WHO), International Health Regulations (2005), https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789241580496
3 https://www.icao.int/covid/cart/Pages/default.aspx

About The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), a United Nations specialized agency, is the leading international organization with the decisive and central role in promoting the development of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. It serves as a global forum for tourism policy issues and a practical source of tourism know-how. Its membership includes 159 countries, 6 territories, 2 permanent observers and over 500 Affiliate Members.

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