Published on : Monday, February 22, 2021
The World Travel & Tourism Council sent an open letter to the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson during the weekend, urging him to adopt a COVID-19 exit strategy for saving tourism.
The letter carries relevance for most countries in Asia that are still struggling with lockdowns or stringent quarantine regulations. It presents four key fundamentals. The purpose is to establish an international mobility framework removing restrictions like quarantine.
The WTTC’s letter to the UK PM strongly opposes reinstating air corridors saying that they could ‘burn bridges’ with overseas governments looking to agree on trade and other deals post-Brexit.
The letter said, “We know from extensive consultation with WTTC members and governments worldwide that there is strong opposition to air corridors. They are not the answer and have created great uncertainty for countries, consumers, airlines, and travel agents up and down the country, causing more problems than solutions.”
“The way to save travel and tourism while avoiding importing and exporting the virus is to shift the focus from entire countries to individual travellers’ risk assessment, irrespective of which country people are travelling from,” said the WTTC president and CEO, Gloria Guevara.
Guevara added, “Using the UK’s leading practices in technologies in border control, and implementing a comprehensive testing regime on arrival and departure, is less destructive and disruptive to the economy than blanket quarantines.”
The letter urges strengthening of health and hygiene protocols, including mandatory mask-wearing besides vaccination rollout, as part of an integrated solution. The letter said, “What is very clear from all we have experienced in the past 12 months is that we will not see a complete return to pre-pandemic days. We will have to adapt to coexist with the virus and the future of travel and tourism, but we will see widespread use of digital and biometric technology, alongside mask-wearing and hygiene protocols, to create a touchless and seamless travel experience.”
The WTTC president added: “While we applaud the government’s incredible progress on the rollout of vaccines to combat the virus, the travel and tourism sector is still massively exposed to the terrible impact of anti-Covid-19 travel restrictions.”