Major international organizations representing the travel industry have joined in a call for the immediate action to resume international travel that would not require waiting for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. The group, led by the World Travel & Tourism Council, includes Airports Council International, the World Economic Forum and the International Chamber of Commerce.
While the start of inoculations with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is welcome news in the long-term race to effectively end the pandemic, the WTTC said in a statement vaccinations must not be a requirement to travel. The group says such a requirement will delay the revival of international travel, putting millions of jobs in the sector and the global economy at further risk.
WTTC, ACI, WEF and ICC have identified four key measures which need to be implemented to restore international travel safely:
• Globally recognized testing regime on departure, putting in place quick and cost-effective testing that adhere to international standards to minimize the risk of transmission.
• Common health and hygiene protocols, such as the WTTC Safe Travels Protocols, to maintain a lower risk of transmission during travel.
• New risk management policies adopted by governments in place of the present risk avoidance approach, which leads to protocols such as lengthy quarantines and blanket travel bans.
• Adopt digital travel passes, such as CommonPass, the IATA Travel Pass and those introduced by carriers, such as American Airlines’ Verifly app to ensure the common certification of test results. By contrast, the group recommends against so-called “health passports,” saying such a step would only further delay the recovery in travel.