The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and 120 of the world’s major travel & global business leaders have sent a letter calling on the Heads of State and international opposition leaders of the G7* group of countries, as well as Australia, South Korea and Spain, as the biggest source markets in Travel & Tourism, for strong leadership and international collaboration to save the struggling Travel & Tourism sector and recover the millions of jobs already impacted.
The 120 leaders backing the call included: business leaders of major airlines, such as British Airways, Emirates, Etihad, Jet2, WestJet and Virgin Atlantic; top international hotel groups, such as Accor, Best Western, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental, Mandarin Oriental, Marriott, Meliá Hotels and Radisson; and major tour operators & travel companies, such as Abercrombie & Kent, American Express, Carlson Wagonlit, Expedia, Travelport, TUI and Uber.
Despite Travel & Tourism’s importance to the local and global economies, WTTC is concerned that there is no clear or internationally coordinated effort to protect this sector.
“WTTC and the other signatories of the letter are committed to working together to help resolve the worst crisis of our generation, and bring back the millions of jobs impacted but the private sector cannot do this alone,” Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO, said. “It is vital that the leaders of these countries come together and prioritise rescuing the world from this unprecedented crisis affecting more than 120 million jobs.”
In this letter, WTTC has identified four measures which need concerted international framework and leadership to combat the coronavirus:
Wearing a mask: This should be mandatory on all modes of transport throughout the entire traveler journey, as well as when visiting any interior venue and in locations where there is restricted movement which results in close personal contact and required physical distancing cannot be maintained. According to medical evidence, such measures can reduce the risk of the spread by up to 92%.
Testing and contact tracing: We need governments to invest and agree on extensive, rapid, and reliable testing, ideally with results available in as quick as 90 minutes, and at a low cost, before departure and/or after arrival (symptomatic and asymptomatic would-be travelers), supported by effective and agreed contact tracing tools. The application of one or multiple tests, with the second after five days, will help to isolate infected people.
Quarantine for positive tests only: Quarantine for healthy travelers, which only serves to damage the economy, should not be necessary if testing is in place before departure and/or on arrival, and effective containment measures are taken five days later. This can replace blanket quarantine in a more targeted and effective way significantly reducing the negative impact on jobs and the economy.
Reinforcing global protocols and standardize measures: The adoption of global health and safety protocols will help rebuild traveler confidence and ensure a consistent, coordinated and aligned approach of the travel experience in addition to significantly reducing the risk of infection. We also support the Public Health Corridor Concept which promotes a clean and safe end-to-end journey.
WTTC research has shown that even a modest resumption of travelling can have massive economic benefits and bring thousands of desperately needed jobs back; providing a critical boost for the struggling Travel & Tourism sector and generating desperately needed GDP for economies left floundering after being struck by the pandemic.
*G7 group of countries are Germany, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, UK and U.S