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covid-19

IATA Travel Momentum Builds as Restrictions are Lifted

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IATA Travel Momentum Builds as Restrictions are Lifted - AIRLINEHUB.com - TRAVELINDEXGeneva, Switzerland, February 18, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data showing growing momentum in the recovery of air travel as restrictions are lifted. IATA reported a sharp 11-percentage point increase for international tickets sold in recent weeks (in proportion to 2019 sales).

– In the period around 8 February (7 day moving average) the number of tickets sold stood at 49% of the same period in 2019.
– In the period around 25 January (7 day moving average) the number of tickets sold stood at 38% of the same period in 2019.
– The 11-percentage point improvement between the January and February periods is the fastest such increase for any two-week period since the crisis began.

Progressive Alleviation of COVID-19 Measures

The jump in ticket sales comes as more governments announce a relaxation of COVID-19 border restrictions. An IATA survey of travel restrictions for the world’s top 50 air travel markets (comprising 92% of global demand in 2019 as measured by revenue passenger kilometers) revealed the growing access available to vaccinated travelers.

– 18 markets (comprising about 20% of 2019 demand) are open to vaccinated travelers without quarantine or pre-departure testing requirements.
– 28 markets are open to vaccinated travelers without quarantine requirements (including the 18 markets noted above). This comprises about 50% of 2019 demand.
– 37 markets (comprising about 60% of 2019 demand) are open to vaccinated travelers under varying conditions (18 having no restrictions, others requiring testing or quarantine or both).

These numbers reflect a spate of relaxations announced around the world, including in Australia, France, the Philippines, the UK, Switzerland, and Sweden among them.

“Momentum toward normalizing traffic is growing. Vaccinated travelers have the potential to travel much more extensively with fewer hassles than even a few weeks ago. This is giving growing numbers of travelers the confidence to buy tickets. And that is good news! Now we need to further accelerate the removal of travel restrictions. While recent progress is impressive, the world remains far from 2019 levels of connectivity. Thirteen of the top 50 travel markets still do not provide easy access to all vaccinated travelers. That includes major economies like China, Japan, Russia, Indonesia, and Italy,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

IATA continues to call for:

– Removing all travel barriers (including quarantine and testing) for those fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine,
– Enabling quarantine-free travel for non-vaccinated travelers with a negative pre-departure antigen test result,
– Removing travel bans, and,
– Accelerating the easing of travel restrictions in recognition that travelers pose no greater risk for COVID-19 spread than already exists in the general population.

“Travel restrictions have had a severe impact on people and on economies. They have not, however, stopped the spread of the virus. And it is time for their removal as we learn to live and travel in a world that will have risks of COVID-19 for the foreseeable future. This means putting a stop to the singling out of the traveling population for special measures. In nearly all cases, travelers don’t bring any more risk to a market than is already there. Many governments have recognized this already and removed restrictions. Many more need to follow,” said Walsh.

First published at TravelCommunication.net

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

Time to End US Pre-Departure Testing for Fully Vaccinated Travelers

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Time to End US Pre-Departure Testing for Fully Vaccinated Travelers - TRAVELINDEXGeneva, Switzerland, February 8, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association (IATA), in partnership with Airlines for America (A4A) and 28 US and international aviation and travel and tourism stakeholder groups, urged the US government to remove the pre-departure testing requirement for fully vaccinated air travelers flying to the US.

The vaccinated traveler population adds no additional risks to the domestic US population. Increased immunity levels, the pervasiveness of COVID-19 in all 50 US states, rising vaccination rates and new therapeutics, all point to removing the testing requirement for fully vaccinated travelers.

“The experience of Omicron has made it clear that travel restrictions have little to no impact in terms of preventing its spread. Moreover, as Omicron is already broadly present across the US, fully vaccinated travelers bring no extra risk to the local population. International travelers should face no additional screening requirements than what is applied to domestic travel. In fact, at this stage of the pandemic, travel should be managed in the same way as access to shopping malls, restaurants or offices,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

More than 74.3 million people — meaning at least 22% of the US population — have had COVID-19, and that is almost certainly an undercount owing to asymptomatic infections and limited testing early in the pandemic. When combined with an adult population that is 74% fully vaccinated, it is clear that the US is developing very high levels of population immunity.

The organizations also noted that the EU has recommended that its member states remove COVID-19 travel restrictions for travel within the EU, and the United Kingdom has announced the removal of COVID-19 pre-departure testing for vaccinated air travellers to enter the country. The UK concluded that the cost to both passengers and airlines of the testing mandate could no longer be justified as there was no evidence the regime protected the population from COVID-19.

Recent research by Oxera and Edge Health in Italy, Finland, and the UK all support the conclusion that travel measures do little to control the spread of COVID-19 when it is already broadly present in the local population. The studies found that, if implemented at a very early stage, travel restrictions may at best delay the peak of a new wave by a few days and marginally reduce the number of cases.

Furthermore, IATA’s most recent air traveler survey showed that 62% of respondents support removing a testing requirement for those who are fully vaccinated.

“Removing the pre-departure testing requirement for fully vaccinated travelers will greatly support the recovery of travel and aviation in the US and globally without increasing the spread of COVID-19 and its variants in the US population. There is no use in closing the barn door after the horse has bolted,” said Walsh.

First published at TravelCommunication.net

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

IATA Welcomes ICAO Health Master List Critical Enabler of One ID

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IATA Welcomes ICAO Health Master List Critical Enabler of One ID - TRAVELINDEX - AIRLINEHUB.comGeneva, Switzerland, February 5, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association welcomed the creation by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) of a global directory of public keys required for authentication of health credentials. The directory—called the Health Master List (HML)—will make a significant contribution to the global recognition and verification (interoperability) of government issued health credentials.

A public key enables third parties to verify that a QR code displayed on a health credential is authentic and valid. The HLM is a compilation of public key certificates signed by ICAO and regularly updated as more health proofs are issued and new public keys are required. Its implementation will ease the global recognition of health credentials outside of the jurisdiction in which they were issued.

“For international travel today, it is critical that COVID-19 health passes can be efficiently verified outside of their country of issuance. While the keys for verification are available individually, the creation of a directory will significantly cut complexity, simplify operations and improve trust in the verification process. We encourage all states to submit their public health keys to the HLM,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

The sharing of public keys used to perform this verification does not involve any exchange of or access to personal information. The HML is available on the ICAO website. All states can upload their public keys and download those of other governments.

Through a pilot project associated with the HML, private sector providers of solutions for governments to verify health credentials will also be able access these keys. This will help facilitate the broadest coverage of health certificates in their offerings as international travel continues to ramp-up. IATA will participate in this pilot program to support the deployment of the IATA Travel Pass.

A Step Forward for One ID

The air transport industry’s interest in this type of directory goes beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

“COVID-19 Health Certificates must be removed as we progress towards overall travel normalization and industry recovery. But we must retain and build on the operational experience of verifying certificates globally. That includes securely sharing access to public keys with private sector solution providers. This will help to drive progress for contactless verification of traveler identities for which similar keys are needed. ​​We cannot under-estimate how important this will be for the implementation of One ID which has the potential to dramatically simplify travel,” said Walsh.

One ID uses digital identity management and biometric technologies to streamline travel by eliminating repetitive checks of paper documents. The contactless checking of travel health credentials is advancing the experience needed to operationalize One ID. The challenge is the same: universal recognition of verified digital credentials irrespective of the jurisdiction in which they were issued, or the standard used. The successful sharing of public keys to verify COVID-19 health certificates will demonstrate that similar keys for digital identity documents can also be securely and efficiently be collected and shared, including with private sector solution providers.

First published at TravelCommunication.net

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

UNWTO: Blanket Travel Restrictions Don’t Work

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UNWTO: Blanket Travel Restrictions Don’t Work - TRAVELINDEXMadrid, Spain, January 26, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has welcomed the call of its sister UN agency World Health Organization (WHO) for restrictions on travel to be lifted or eased.

Citing the varied global  responses to the emergence of the of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, WHO has reiterated that restrictions on travel are not effective in suppressing the international spread. In line with UNWTO’s recurring warning against the use of blanket restrictions, the 10th meeting of the WHO’s International Health Regulations Emergency Committee (Geneva, 19 January) expressed concern that such measures can cause economic and social harm. They may also “discourage transparent and rapid reporting of emerging Variants of Concern”, the WHO added.

The Committee also noted that measures applied to international travellers such as testing, isolation and quarantine, and vaccinations, should be based on “risk assessments and avoid placing the financial burden on international travellers in accordance with Article 40 of the IHR”.

When it comes to stopping the spread of new virus variants, blanket travel restrictions are simply counterproductive

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili says: “When it comes to stopping the spread of new virus variants, blanket travel restrictions are simply counterproductive. In fact, by cutting the lifeline of tourism, these restrictions do more harm than good, especially in destinations reliant on international tourists for jobs, economic wellbeing and sustainable change.”

The United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects Report for 2022 – to which UNWTO provided the official travel related data – has noted that in both developed and developing, recovery from the impacts of the pandemic is “uneven and fragile”. It also highlights the “substantial reversal in progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“It is imperative we restart tourism and so kickstart recovery and get back on track towards meeting the SDGs while responding to Climate Imperatives,” Mr Pololikashvili adds. “UNWTO welcomes WHO’s new guidance, highlighting the ineffectiveness of blanket travel restrictions, and we also amplify their recommendations against using vaccination status as the sole condition for welcoming tourists back, especially when vaccination rates remain so uneven.”

First published at TravelCommunication.net – Global Travel News

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

UNWTO and ADB Launch Report on Big Data and Tourism Recovery

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UNWTO and ADB Launch Report on Big Data and Tourism Recovery

Madrid, Spain, December 24, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / UNWTO and the Asian Development Bank have launched a joint report on the use of big data for better tourism planning and management. The report features examples from across the Asia and the Pacific region while also showcasing the main trends in the use of big data in tourism at the forefront of technology and innovation. The report also makes clear the the role that big data can play in recovery and the measurement of the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of tourism.

Data to empower decision makers

Tourism suffered the greatest crisis on record in 2020. International arrivals plunged by 73% in 2020. This is likely to followed by a 70% and 75% fall on 2019 levels for 2021. As the sector looks to  recover, data and market intelligence are critical to  empower destinations, businesses, and tourism workers to be better prepared in a rapidly changing landscape. The COVID-19 pandemic has also accelerated the shift toward digitalization and so further highlighted the need for relevant and reliable data and intelligence to manage tourism.

The joint UNWTO and ADB report will assist both governments and the private sector as they look to complement official statistics with big data so as to better understand changes in consumer behavior and to enhance recovery with targeted products, segments, and source markets. Big data will also be key to supporting seamless travel through the implementation of safety protocols, biosecurity technologies, and digital health certificates to enable the safe reopening of borders.

The report further addresses some of the key challenges standing in the way of fully realizing the potential of big data and digitalization for better tourism policy. These include ongoing concerns over privacy, skills gaps, data reliability, inadequate governance and infrastructure, the digital divide, accessibility barriers. These challenges make clear the need for comprehensive agenda to pave the way for the effective use of big data to assist tourism recovery and its transformation toward a greener, more resilient sector. Together, UNWTO and ADB will work to ensure tourism policies across the region are aimed at establishing measurement, monitoring, and management systems and frameworks, thereby ensuring harmonized, comparable, and reliable data and indicators.

First published at TravelCommunication.net – Global Travel News

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

WTTC Calls on EU Governments to Avoid Severe Travel Restriction

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WTTC Calls on EU Governments to Avoid Severe Travel Restriction - TRAVELINDEXBrussels, Belgium, December 22, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, joined other EU Travel & Tourism stakeholders in urging EU governments against reintroducing damaging and ineffective travel restrictions.

“Putting travel bans in place is illogical. Fully vaccinated travellers should be able to move around freely.

“The World Health Organisation says closing borders does not work. Omicron is already well established throughout Europe. This is an act of political one-upmanship decided by people whose livelihoods do not depend on Travel & Tourism.”

First published at TravelCommunication.net – Global Travel News

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

WTTC on Latest Measures Introduced by French Government

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WTTC on Latest Measures Introduced by French Government - TRAVELINDEXParis, France, December 17, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO said: “This is an ineffective, knee-jerk reaction by the French government. Banning travel to France will not stop COVID variants that are already in France. As South African scientists said these decisions are based on hysteria not logic.

“This decision will destroy long planned family reunions and it has long term implications for a Travel & Tourism sector that was just beginning to recover.

“Governments should be focusing on individuals allowing people who are fully vaccinated to travel freely. Banning whole countries has been proved to not work.

“We know this drastic measure will do nothing to stop the new virus strain but will be a major blow to the Travel & Tourism sector – which is the last thing it needs right now. We should be focusing on stopping community transmission, by enforcing on mask wearing and implementing enhanced health and safety measures.”

First published at TravelCommunication.net – Global Travel News

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

WTTC Welcomes Reopening of U.S. Borders

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WTTC Welcomes Reopening of U.S. Borders

Washington DC, United States, October 19, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO said: “It is great news that the U.S. will reopen its borders to fully-vaccinated travellers from the UK and EU from Nov 8. It has been a long time coming, but the Travel & Tourism businesses on both sides of the Atlantic will be breathing a sigh of relief.

“Visitors from the EU and the UK contributed more than $46 billion to the U.S economy in 2019, showing just how critical this move will be to the U.S recovery.

“WTTC believe governments should axe red lists completely, and instead base the risk on individuals rather than entire countries.”

First published at TravelCommunication.net – Global Travel News

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

Governments Response to Delta Variant Slams August Traffic Demand

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Governments Response to Delta Variant Slams August Traffic Demand - TRAVELINDEXGeneva, Switzerland, October 3, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that the recovery in air travel decelerated in August compared to July, as government actions in response to concerns over the COVID-19 Delta variant cut deeply into domestic travel demand.

Because comparisons between 2021 and 2020 monthly results are distorted by the extraordinary impact of COVID-19, unless otherwise noted all comparisons are to July 2019, which followed a normal demand pattern.

– Total demand for air travel in August 2021 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was down 56.0% compared to August 2019. This marked a slowdown from July, when demand was 53.0% below July 2019 levels.

– This was entirely driven by domestic markets, which were down 32.2% compared to August 2019, a major deterioration from July 2021, when traffic was down 16.1% versus two years ago. The worst impact was in China, while India and Russia were the only large markets to show a month-to-month improvement compared to July 2021.

– International passenger demand in August was 68.8% below August 2019, which was an improvement compared to the 73.1% decline recorded in July. All regions showed improvement, which was attributable to growing vaccination rates and less stringent international travel restrictions in some regions.

“August results reflect the impact of concerns over the Delta variant on domestic travel, even as international travel continued on a snail’s pace toward a full recovery that cannot happen until governments restore the freedom to travel. In that regard, the recent US announcement to lift travel restrictions from early November on fully vaccinated travelers is very good news and will bring certainty to a key market. But challenges remain, September bookings indicate a deterioration in international recovery. That’s bad news heading into the traditionally slower fourth quarter,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

International Passenger Markets

– European carriers’ August international traffic declined 55.9% versus August 2019, significantly bettering the 63.2% decrease in July compared to the same month in 2019. Capacity dropped 45.0% and load factor fell 17.7 percentage points to 71.5%.

– Asia-Pacific airlines saw their August international traffic fall 93.4% compared to August 2019, barely improved over the 94.5% drop registered in July 2021 versus July 2019 as the region continues to have the strictest border control measures. Capacity dropped 85.7% and the load factor was down 44.9 percentage points to 37.9%, by far the lowest among regions.

– Middle Eastern airlines had a 69.3% demand drop in August compared to August 2019, improved upon the 73.6% decrease in July, versus the same month in 2019. Capacity declined 55.0%, and load factor deteriorated 26.2 percentage points to 56.2%.

– North American carriers experienced a 59.0% traffic drop in August versus the 2019 period, much improved on the 61.7% decline in July compared to July 2019. Capacity sank 48.5%, and load factor dipped 18.0 percentage points to 70.3%.

– Latin American airlines saw a 63.1% drop in August traffic, compared to the same month in 2019, improved over the 68.3% decline in July compared to July 2019. August capacity fell 57.3% and load factor dropped 11.4 percentage points to 72.6%, which was the highest load factor among the regions for the eleventh consecutive month.

– African airlines’ traffic fell 58.5% in August versus two years’ ago, somewhat improved over the 60.4% decline in July compared to July 2019. August capacity was down 50.1% and load factor declined 12.7% to 63.0%.

– China’s domestic traffic dropped 57.0% compared to August 2019 – a huge deterioration from the 2.5% fall in July. However, overall cases were low, and outbreaks were mostly under control by the end of August, suggesting numbers will improve in September.

– India’s domestic traffic reversed the trend, as demand fell 44.8% in August, improved from a 58.9% decline in July versus July 2019, owing to positive trends in new cases and vaccination.

The Bottom Line

“The rapid slowdown in the domestic traffic recovery in August, owing to a spike in the Delta variant shows how exposed air travel continues to be to the cycles of COVID-19. For governments that should send two messages. The first is that this is not the time to step away from continuing support of the industry, both financial and regulatory. The second is the need to apply a risk-based approach to managing borders–as passengers are already doing in making their travel decisions,” said Walsh.

Next week, leaders of the global aviation community will gather in Boston at the 77th IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit, 3-5 October. “The AGM provides a powerful vote of confidence in the safety of international air travel and the health protocols that have now been in place for up to 18 months. I’ve said it before: virtual meetings are no substitute for the value delivered through the opportunity to meet face-to-face. The AGM will provide a powerful reminder of this fact.”

First published at TravelCommunication.net

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

Leaders Urged to Shape Sustainable and Inclusive Future Together

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Leaders Urged to Shape Sustainable and Inclusive Future Together - TRAVELINDEXGeneva, Switzerland, September 28, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The World Economic Forum’s fifth Sustainable Development Impact Summit was brought to a close today by Børge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum. Calling climate change “one of the most urgent challenges of our lifetime” he thanked the more than 2,300 participants for their work to move projects forward across the more than 100 sessions.

“Exiting the pandemic stronger than we entered it can only happen if stakeholders work together,” he said. “Important strides were made these past four days that give me so much hope – it has truly been an impact summit. I am confident that if we continue to raise our ambition and work together, we can shape a more inclusive and sustainable future.”

In his closing remarks, Brende spoke of the need to share know-how, partner on innovation and coordinate on advancing global priorities.

COP26 in Glasgow and the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2022 in Davos-Klosters will be focal points for leaders to show impact and demonstrate how they are moving towards global goals.

The Sustainable Development Impact Summit was designed around four pillars: Revitalizing Economies; Advancing an Inclusive Recovery; Scaling up Climate Action; and Shaping Future Food Systems. Here are the key outcomes:

– A little over two years ago, the Forum committed to developing a set of universal environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics to help companies practice stakeholder capitalism. Over 50 companies are now using these Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics and over 100 support the initiative worldwide.
– The EDISON Alliance committed to building affordable digital access to healthcare, finance and education for 1 billion people by 2025.
– Airlines, airports, fuel suppliers and other industry stakeholders aim for 10% sustainable aviation fuel by 2030 to help one of the most carbon-heavy sectors get to net-zero by 2050.
– Some 150 organizations and industry leaders signed a Call to Action urging governments to enable a full decarbonization of shipping by 2050.
– The Partnership for Global LGBTI Equality launched a self-assessment tool to help companies identify actions to meet UN standards of conduct.
– The Forum’s Partnering for Racial Justice in Business Coalition now comprises 60 organizations, representing over 7 million employees.
– Alongside the first ever UN Food Systems Summit, the Forum’s Food Systems team announced the Digital Food Systems Coalition, the 100 Million Farmers platform to help develop a more inclusive and sustainable food system for all and co-hosted the innovation track with Mercy Corps.
– Over 20 companies have pledged to conserve, restore and grow more than 2.5 billion trees in over 40 countries as part of the 1t.org global pledge process.
– The Forum’s Scale360 project, which creates products with multiple lifecycles instead of single use, expanded from two to 20 countries.
– Cambodia established a Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator, joining a global network of 11 countries addressing skills gaps and the future of work.
– Finland joined the Global Learning Network to contribute its expertise in closing education gaps.
– The Food Action Alliance has expanded to 20 countries and is working on local and national flagships that improve sustainability and inclusivity.
– The Forum’s innovation platform, UpLink, announced that its innovators helped advance projects that captured 39 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, brought safe drinking water to 2.7 million people and created 133,000 jobs. It also announced four new cohorts and two new challenges.
– The Forum’s Friends of Ocean Action launched the Blue Food Partnership and two other initiatives to strengthen ocean resilience.
– The Mangroves Working Group will conserve and restore these forests by building a “blue” carbon market.
– Pakistan became the latest country to step-up in the fight against plastic pollution, joining Indonesia, Ghana, Nigeria and Viet Nam in the Global Plastic Action Partnership.
– The New Generation Industry Leaders community will transform perceptions around industrial companies and inspire new generations to seek work in industrial sectors.
– Cities have a new free resource to help them reduce emissions faster and make urban life more climate-friendly, courtesy of the Net-Zero Carbon Cities project.
– The new Global Health Equity Network will work across public and private sectors to boost access to health and well-being initiatives.
– The Forum played a critical role with the Race to Zero Coalition in mobilizing almost 30% of the health sector to commit to net-zero targets by 2050.
– The Lung Ambition Alliance and the Forum launched the Global Lung Cancer Collaboration to eliminate the disease and ensure the future sustainability of health systems.

Sustainable Development Impact Summit
The meeting brought together global leaders from business, government, and civil society under the theme, Shaping an Equitable, Inclusive and Sustainable Recovery. It focused on new technologies, policies and partnerships to advance cooperation, accelerate progress and highlight tangible solutions to our global challenges.

First published at TravelCommunication.net

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News