Published on : Friday, September 4, 2020
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) recently unveiled the latest set of measures designed to rebuild global consumer confidence, reduce risk and encourage the return of Safe Travels. The latest protocols for the global travel and tourism industry focus on measures to ensure the reopening of adventure tourism. According to WTTC adventure tourism is likely to witness an increase in popularity as travellers will seek more unique experiences post the COVID-19 pandemic.
WTTC held detailed discussions with key stakeholders and organisations to ensure maximum buy-in, alignment and practical implementation and set out the measures to provide a clear expectation expectations of what travellers can experience in the ‘new normal’ which offer safe environments as travel restrictions are eased. The protocols for the adventure tourism industry were compiled based on insights and frameworks developed by the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), in collaboration with a number of key tour operators in the segment such as Abercrombie & Kent, Eurotur, Intrepid and The Travel Corporation (TTC), with the aim of supporting safe, healthy and responsible restart of adventure tourism around the world.
The adventure tourism industry refers to a wide variety of adventure tourism experiences including cycling, rafting, trekking, skiing, snowboarding, wildlife safaris and culinary tours, among others. Although these activities are mostly conducted outdoors and limit the time spent indoors, group sizes for the activities can be managed to allow for physical distancing. Therefore, WTTC expects to see a growth in this type of tourism in the post-COVID landscape. WTTC’s comprehensive package of Safe Travels protocols prioritises the welfare of travellers and the millions of people employed throughout the travel and tourism sector. The protocols avoid the emergence of multiple standards, which would only confuse the consumer and delay the sector’s recovery and provides consistency to destinations and countries as well as offers guidance to travel providers, airlines, airports, operators, and travellers, about the new approach to health and hygiene in the post COVID-19 world.
According to the latest set of measures, a reduction of participant capacity limits for activities as appropriate has been deemed necessary to allow physical distancing. It has been advised to ensure that difficulty levels of activities do not exceed guest ability and skill, in order to decrease the need for a possible rescue. The protocols have also suggested providing clear, consistent, and up-to-date communication on new health and hygiene protocols via the organisation’s channels, both digitally and physically through clear signage. It has also highlighted the need to promote contact tracing apps if required by local legislation and have urged to keep guests well informed about available support that they can avail if questions or concerns arise.
The protocols also asks to share guest guidelines ahead of trip or activity digitally and in person upon arrival on the basis of advice from health authorities, which may include the wearing of face masks or coverings, guidance on hand hygiene and avoiding physical contact. It also encourages guests to purchase tickets online if possible and advises to keep the same households, families, or members of group bookings together for all activities to lower risk of exposure for those outside of that unit, wherever possible. It also emphasis to make sure that each guest can handle their own equipment and gear for the duration of the trip where possible and carry their own equipment or gear, such as bikes, skis, and helmets among others. The measures also urged to limit physical contact and queuing wherever possible.
Gloria Guevara, President & CEO, WTTC said in a statement that adventure tourism is becoming increasingly popular amongst travellers and will represent a key component to travel in the new normal. She mentioned that according WTTC’s recently launched COVID-19 Travel Demand Recovery Dashboard, it is also one of the fastest growing segments, and hence it is important to establish measures that allowing safe travels for adventure travellers. She shared that consumer confidence is crucial for travel and tourism to resume and said that WTTC is aware that travellers would want to explore the world around them once more, as long as they are confident about their safety.
She said that the protocols are important as the return of travel & tourism will help power the world’s much-needed economic recovery. She also mentioned that WTTC would like to pay tribute to all the companies in the global private sector who have stepped forward and rallied around in support of the WTTC Safe Travels protocols and have helped to create the consistency needed to allow a re-invigorated travel and tourism sector to re-open for business. Shannon Stowell, CEO, ATTA added that as tourism professionals, it is now ATTA’s priority to see adventure travel come back strong, resilient and sustainably. She mentioned that WTTC and ATTA collaboration on global guidelines for adventure travel is a significant effort to support companies worldwide to re-open as quickly and safely as possible.