The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has laid out the ‘Safe & Seamless Travel’ guidelines which include testing and tracing. The guidelines follow medical evidence to ensure people can enjoy Safe Travels in the ‘new normal’.
The guidelines aim to offer the travel sector an extensive framework to help governments and private business work in collaboration to create aligned testing and contact tracing programs.
The initiative is part of the WTTC’s Safe and Seamless Traveller Journey (SSTJ) whose goal is to enable a seamless, safe and secure end-to-end traveller experience including flights and non-air travel. It includes systematic biometric verified identification during the journey, for long haul and international travel, replacing manual verifications.
Thanks to a leap in use of contactless technology, travelers and those who work in the Travel & Tourism sector can be assured of a more secure and safe environment. This includes biometrics, faster clearance for inbound and outbound passengers, and offsite processing as part of enhanced SSTJ capabilities which help to reduce transmission.
The detection and isolation of people with the virus has proved to be an effective mechanism to curb previous outbreaks. Since 80 % of COVID-19 carriers are asymptomatic according to medical experts, testing and tracing becomes crucial to control and reduce the transmission.
The new guidelines were produced by consultation with various stakeholders, including WTTC Members, health experts and government officials. It has followed WHO’s and CDC’s guidance, as well as that of ICAO CART Take off.
The new guideline frameworks will help governments who require testing, tracing, receipt of a traveller test/vaccination certificate and COVID-19 specific traveller health insurance to include them as part of their overall recovery plan.
By encouraging their global adoption, WTTC aims to ensure aligned and consistent messaging through coordinated, collaborative, and transparent partnerships across the Travel & Tourism sector. WTTC in partnership with global management consultants, Oliver Wyman, conducted the consultations and produced the report.
“According to the Global Rescue survey of members, nearly 80% of travelers expect to return to the airways and roadways,” Dan Richards, Global Rescue CEO, said. “Travelers are prepared to be tested, and 91% of people interviewed are willing to share personal medical history, their travel plans as a pre-condition to returning to travel. They are willing and eager to help keep themselves and those around them safe.”
WTTC has identified five critical calls to action to governments:
- Support quick and reliable tests as a critical path to ensure public health and a rapid testing and contact tracing strategy to help contain the spread of the virus
- Multilateral collaboration and adherence to internationally recognized guidelines to enable ‘approved travelers’ to travel across to multiple destinations using a single process and risk assessment framework
- Support travel ‘bubbles’ or ‘tourism corridors’ between low-risk COVID-19 areas/zones or countries based on recognized criteria on what constitutes low, medium and high risk and where the origin government and the destination government agree. These bubbles and corridors may help to limit testing requirements for travelers and support the recovery
- Remove blanket travel advisories and recommendations against non-essential international travel as this prevents insurance protection for travelers, as countries re-open
- Support a global standard of traveller health insurance, or at least minimum requirements, defined with private sector insurance companies