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WTTC outlines ‘the new normal’ as we start to travel

1st May 2020 - 5:00pm

Gloria Guevara, President & CEO, WTTC (photo:wttc.org)

Gloria Guevara, President & CEO, WTTC (photo:wttc.org)

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As countries ease travel restrictions, the World Travel & Tourism Council outlines a ‘new normal’ emerging with a gradual return to travel over the coming months before a vaccine becomes widely available.  Travel is likely to return first to domestic markets with staycations; then to a country’s nearest neighbours, across regions, and then finally across continents for long-haul international destinations. WTTC also believes younger travellers (18-35 age group) who appear to be less vulnerable to COVID-19, may be among the first to begin travelling once again.

 

Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO, said: “It is vital for the survival of the [industry] that we work together and map out the road to recovery, through coordinated actions, and offer the reassurance people need to begin travelling once again... When the protocols from private sector are taken into account and we have a coordinated approach the recovery timeframe is significantly reduced, so the private-public sector collaboration is crucial.

 

“We should avoid new, unnecessary procedures that create bottlenecks and slow down the recovery. However, a quick and effective restart of travel will only happen if governments around the world agree to a common set of health protocols... [that] provide the reassurance travellers and authorities need, using new technology, to offer hassle-free, pre-vaccine ‘new normal’ travel in the short term.”

 

WTTC are developing a roadmap through collaboration with organisations including the IATA, the Airport Council International (ACI), CLIA, USTA, PATA, International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the OECD, the European Travel Commission (ETC) and the UNWTO. The WHO and other health experts have added their experience.

 

IATA, ACI and ICAO are pooling expertise to define best protocols to keep travellers and employees safe to enable the aviation sector to recover.  Travellers at airports will be tested before they fly and upon arrival, will see social distancing measures at the airport and during boarding, as well as wearing masks while onboard. Aircraft will be subject to intensive cleansing regimes combined with contact-tracing via mobile app to leave airports COVID-19-free.

 

Cruise operators will take further measures to ensure ships are free of COVID-19 including staff wearing gloves at all times which are then frequently changed; and more frequent room cleaning.

 

The protocols, which have been developed using experience from China’s initial recovery and from new successful standards used by retailers, will be fully announced to ensure a coordinated approach around the world.

 

There are positive signs of the first green shoots of recovery. Research experts, Cirium state 30%+ of domestic aviation capacity has returned to China in the last two months. Domestic flights have also resumed in some countries, such as in Vietnam between Ho Chi Minh City and Saigon, with Vietnam recording relatively few coronavirus fatalities.


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