Following various meetings with governments around the world and a letter to the the heads of state of the G7 signed by 120 CEOs of private companies, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) says it hopes to finalize a plan to save the international travel and tourism industry from the negative effects of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The WTTC calls the pandemic “the worst threat” to the industry “in its history.”
The WTTC has called on international leadership to save the struggling sector and protect millions of jobs threatened by border controls and quarantine measures, as well as lower demand from business and leisure travelers. The WTTC noted the urgency of an international consensus on rapid traveler tests to restore confidence and security.
The European Union is expected to back an international agreement at a meeting for the region's tourism ministers on September 28, and more widely across the G20 group of countries, in early October. The international plan, which could be sealed in October, focuses on:
- Ensuring widespread international agreement on standardized departure testing protocols, including non-quarantine for travelers
- Each government guaranteeing the protection of travelers and ensuring that resources are reserved for eventual repatriation
- Establishing an agreement on a “traffic light” system to report COVID-19 numbers to ensure global consistency, with quarantine periods reduced or eliminated, based on cases above or below 25 per 100,000 inhabitants over a period of 14 days
- Piloting air corridors to resume international and business travel
A WTTC analysis of Public Health England data suggested that two tests in rapid succession could be 80 percent effective in identifying passengers with COVID-19 and, therefore, reduce the quarantine period from 14 days to four to six days—or no quarantine at all. Additionally, information from Stanford and the Harvard School of Public Health validated that exit testing, combined with the use of a mask and the implementation of protocols, can reduce risk and allow safe travel.