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Safe Travels

WTTC Unveils New Global Protocols To Restart Industry

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has unveiled a range of new worldwide measures to restart the sector.

The new measures are have designed to rebuild confidence among consumers so they can travel safely once the restrictions are lifted.

Called Safe Travels, the new protocols provide consistency to destinations and countries as well as guidance to travel providers, operators and travellers on the new approach to health and hygiene in the post COVID-19 world.

The health and safety of travellers and workers is put at the heart of the new global protocols, which have been drawn up by WTTC Members. Drawn up by WTTC members, and based on the best available medical evidence and following guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the new measures put the health and safety of travellers and workers front and centre, and are designed to avoid the emergence of multiple standards, which would only delay the sector’s recovery.

WTTC president and CEO, Gloria Guevara said: “We have learned from the past, especially after the tragedy of 9/11, where the lack of coordination among governments and with the private sector caused long-lasting travel disruption, higher costs and a longer recovery time.”

Guevara continued: “Coordination and alignment within the Travel & Tourism sector is vital to ensure that robust global measures are put in place to help rebuild confidence and which are jointly embraced by governments and the private sector.”

The WTTC’s said that: “We are delighted that for the first time ever, the global private sector has aligned around these new Safe Travels protocols which will create consistency across the sector. Now we are calling on governments to adopt them so that they can be implemented globally and restore much-needed confidence in order to restart the Travel & Tourism sector.”

Evidence from WTTC’s Crisis Readiness report, which looked at 90 different types of crises, highlights the importance of public-private cooperation to ensure that smart policies and effective communities are in place to enable a more resilient travel and tourism sector.

The council devised the new Safe Travels protocols following close consultation with its members, as well as industry associations like Airports Council International (ACI), Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and International Air Transport Association (IATA), in order to bring confidence back and set clear expectations of what travellers expect upfront from their next trip.

WTTC indicated that the new protocols will apply across the main industries within travel and tourism including hospitality, aviation, airports, cruise operators, retail, transportation, MICE and tour operators amongst others.

Right now, detailed discussions are taking place with key stakeholders and organizations in each industry within the sector to ensure maximum buy-in, alignment and practical implementation, with hospitality and retail guidelines being released today.

Already, the WTTC’s initiative has received the backing of top CEOs and business leaders from across the Travel & Tourism sector.

Chris Nassetta, chairman of the WTTC and president and CEO of Hilton said that: “We see green shoots of hope emerging as our global community turns its attention toward recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. But we know that travellers will only venture out into the world again when they feel it is safe to do so, making it critically important that we give them the confidence and peace of mind they need.”

Nassetta pointed out that: “The global protocols WTTC has laid out are designed to align the travel and tourism industry around consistent health and safety guidelines that will help protect travellers wherever their journey takes them.”

Radisson Hospitality president and CEO, Federico J. González observed that: “We need to make sure that the travel industry speaks the same language and each consumer understands what safety means in hotels, regardless of their location. Having a common worldwide protocol will allow consumers to recognize the same safety standards wherever they travel.”

And González continued: “The WTTC Safe Travels protocols will make this same language possible for the benefit of everybody in this industry. This is the reason why Radisson Hotel Group fully supports this initiative and is looking forward to helping expand the WTTC Safe Travels protocols as much as possible, across the globe.”

Keith Barr, InterContinental Hotels Group chief executive, observed: “As an industry, we have always made the safety and wellbeing of guests and colleagues our top priority. IHG is proud to support the WTTC in shaping this best practice guidance in areas such as cleanliness and hygiene, all underpinned by the most relevant training and preparedness for hotel teams.”

Barr noted that: “This important work illustrates how our industry can come together to provide the reassurance and confidence that will be so important as people return to travel.”

WTTC has divided the new guidance into five pillars including restarting operations; ensuring the traveller experience is safe and secure; rebuilding trust and confidence; innovation; and implementing enabling policies.

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