The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is calling for a clear and consistent approach to travel restrictions as governments around the world responded to the Omicron variant.
While data on the characteristics of the new variant of concern is still being gathered, GBTA is encouraging governments to adopt a clear, consistent and thoughtful approach – particularly as it applies to keeping country borders open to travellers.
In a statement, the GBTA says that it:
- Supports that any actions taken should focus on vaccination or recovery status and individual traveller risk, instead broad-reaching travel restrictions or border shutdowns.
- Calls for the use of consistent guidance and protocols worldwide for determining actions that would restrict or ban travel domestically and internationally related to new COVID-19 developments such as omicron and potential future variants.
- Continues to also strongly encourage governments to take into consideration the difference between business travel and leisure travel, especially when it comes to keeping borders open for international travel and getting back to doing business. In a recent GBTA survey of business travelers worldwide, 91% said they are fully or partially vaccinated.
- Current mitigation strategies should continue with regards to air travel, such as increasing vaccination rates, increased availability of vaccines and boosters, testing, and enforced masking in airports and on flights.
Suzanne Neufang, CEO, GBTA, said: “Travel bans, border closures and quarantines have greatly impacted business travel and therefore the world’s ability to do business.”
Neufang continued: “According to GBTA’s recent Business Travel Index, after declining almost 54% in 2020 to $661 billion USD, global business travel expenditures are only expected to rebound 14% in 2021 to $754 billion USD, due to the ongoing pandemic – with some regions such as western Europe seeing a further 3.8% erosion in 2021 compared to 2020.”
GBTA’s CEO said that: “As we continue to take a long view of COVID-19, the random opening and closing of global borders has not been shown to be neither a factor in mitigating the virus nor sustainable due to increased impacts to economic and supply chain recovery.”
And she concluded: “We encourage countries and governments to work collectively to pursue consistent policies that avoid new travel bans, and instead to focus on individual traveler risk, increased vaccinations and ongoing testing protocols. The more people who are vaccinated and with appropriate testing protocols in place, the more safely and consistently business travel can return, along with a robust return to doing business.”
Go to www.gbta.org for more.