The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) works with the G20, the European Union and international organizations to develop hygiene and health protocols for this sector, as countries begin to end COVID-19 blockades and improve travel restrictions.
“Traveling in the new normal” is part of the WTTC plan, which includes critical steps and coordinated actions, including new standards and protocols, that offer a safe and responsible path to recovery for the global travel and tourism sector, as consumers start planning trips again.
Over the past few weeks, the WTTC, which represents the global private travel and tourism sector, has organized the efforts of the private sector, sharing best practices from different regions of the world to work on the way forward.
Public-private collaboration between companies and governments is vital to develop new health protocols that shape the travel experience and also provide people with great safety when traveling.
The WTTC notes that the sector will face a gradual return to travel in the coming months as a “new normal” emerges before a vaccine is available on a large scale. Travel is likely to return to domestic markets first with vacations at home; then to the closest countries before expanding through the regions, and finally across the continents. ”
The WTTC estimates that younger travelers, in the 18-35 age group, who appear to be less vulnerable to COVID-19, may also be among the first to start traveling.
Gloria Guevara Manzo, President and CEO of the WTTC, stated that “it is vital for the survival of the travel and tourism sector that we work together and chart the path to recovery, through coordinated actions, to offer the tranquility that people need to start traveling once more. ”
“We have learned from past experiences that when private sector protocols are taken into account and we have a coordinated approach, the payback period is significantly reduced, making collaboration between the public and private sectors crucial. We must avoid new and unnecessary procedures that form bottlenecks and encourage recovery. A quick and effective restart of travel will only happen if governments around the world work together, “he said.
The new protocols and standards are being defined after discussions with WTTC members and with the collaboration of associations such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Airport Council International (ACI), Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), United States Travel Association (USTA), Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), European Travel Commission (ETC) and World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) ).
Bodies such as IATA, ACI and ICAO are combining their crucial expertise and working closely to define the best protocols to keep travelers and employees safe, to enable the aviation sector to recover. The World Health Organization (WHO) and other experts have also contributed by contributing their expertise in various global medical crises.
To offer world-class cleanliness, hygiene standards, and ensure guest safety, hotels develop learning-based protocols of offering free rooms to health workers during the COVID-19 crisis.
There will be new protocols for check-in with digital technology, hand sanitizer stations at frequent points, contactless payment instead of cash and the use of stairs more frequently than elevators to comply with the distancing rule, among other measures.
Cruise operators will take further steps to ensure ships are COVID-19 free, including more frequent glove cleaning and room cleaning.
Travelers at airports will undergo tests before flying and upon arrival at the destination airport. Social distancing measures will be seen at the airport and during boarding, as well as the use of masks while on board.
Aircraft will also be subject to intensive cleaning regimes. These measures will be combined with contact tracking, through the mobile application, which will allow flights to leave airports without COVID-19.
The protocols, which have been developed using the experience of China’s initial recovery and successful new standards used by retailers, will be fully announced in the next two weeks and will be shared with governments globally, so there is a Coordinated approach to travel within the world with the new reality of COVID-19.
There are positive signs already seen in recovery. Research by Cirium, an expert in travel data and analysis, shows that more than 30% of national capacity has returned to the Chinese aviation market in the past two months. Domestic flights have also resumed in some countries, such as Vietnam, between Ho Chi Minh City and Saigon. This country registered relatively few deaths from coronavirus.
To accelerate global recovery, the WTTC will continue to work closely with the G20, the European Union, international organizations and governments around the world, to help translate the new protocols into public policies easily adopted by each country.
The WTTC estimates that the travel and tourism sector now faces more than 100 million jobs lost worldwide due to the coronavirus pandemic, at a cost of up to $ 2.7 trillion of GDP. In 2019, the travel and tourism sector contributed 10.3% of global GDP, was responsible for generating one in four of the world’s new jobs and, for nine consecutive years, outpaced growth in the global economy.