The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has outlined what the “new normal” will look like as countries begin to end their COVID-19 lockdowns and ease travel restrictions.
In its new plan, “Travelling in the New Normal,” the WTTC outlines critical steps and coordinated actions that will include new standards and protocols which offer a safe and responsible road to recovery for the global travel and tourism sector as consumers start planning trips again.
The WTTC has been marshalling the efforts of the private sector, sharing best practices from different regions around the world to work on the path forward.
Public-private collaboration between business and governments is vital to develop new health protocols which will form the travel experience and also provide people with strong reassurances when travelling.
It says the sector will face a gradual return to travel over the coming months as a “new normal” emerges before a vaccine becomes available on a mass scale, large enough to inoculate billions of people.
Travel is likely to return first to domestic markets with staycations; then to a country’s nearest neighbours before expanding across regions, and then finally across continents to welcome the return of journeys to long-haul international destinations.
And it also believes younger travellers in the 18-35 age group, who appear to be less vulnerable to COVID-19, may also be among the first to begin travelling once again.
Gloria Guevara, WTTC president & CEO, commented: “It is vital for the survival of the Travel & Tourism sector 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.”
Guevara continued: “We have learned from past experiences that 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.”
And she pointed out that: “We should avoid new, unnecessary procedures that create bottle necks 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 developed by the private sector, such as those we’ve outlined.”
Guevara concluded: “These must provide the reassurance travellers and authorities need, using new technology, to offer hassle-free, pre-vaccine ‘new normal’ travel in the short term.”
The new protocols and standards are being defined following feedback and multiple conversations with WTTC Members, as well collaboration from associations who represent the different travel sectors.
This includes 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 Organisation (ICAO) the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) the European Travel Commission (ETC) and the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
Go to www.wttc.org for more.