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Travel Measures Should Be Based on Risk Assessment, UNWTO and WHO

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Travel Measures Should Be Based on Risk Assessment, UNWTO and WHO

Geneva, Switzerland, February 27, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have called for the lifting of travel bans as they do not provide added value and continue to contribute to economic and social stress. The two UN agencies agreed to collaborate on a global trust architecture for recovery of the travel sector.

Over recent days, a growing number of countries around the world have started easing their rules for international arrivals, including the easing of travel bans. These decisions are in line with WHO’s latest recommendations for safe international mobility, which highlight the ineffectiveness of blanket restrictions in controlling virus transmissions. Such a trend is also consistent with UNWTO’s repeated warnings of the great social, economic and development harm of restrictions.

Guided by UNWTO, global tourism has followed WHO advice from the very start of this crisis

UNWTO and WHO: a shared approach

In Geneva, the leaders of UNWTO and WHO agreed on the importance of easing or lifting travel bans. Blanket restrictions should be replaced with risk -based, evidence- informed, context-specific policies.

“Guided by UNWTO, global tourism has followed WHO advice from the very start of this crisis,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili. He underscored the need to “continue to do so, and to open up again, safely and responsibly, and allow tourism to deliver on its unique potential as a driver of recovery and growth”.

Risk and evidence-driven approach

According to the WHO International Health Regulations (IHR) Emergency Committee on COVID-19, all measures applied to international travellers should be based on “risk assessments – including testing, isolation and vaccinations”. Furthermore, the financial burden of such measures should not be placed on travellers themselves.

“As countries ease travel restrictions, health must remain the key priority. By basing their decisions on evidence and a risk-based approach adapted to their specific context, countries can find the right balance between keeping people safe, protecting livelihoods and the economy, and keeping borders open”, said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Building a global trust architecture

The two UN agencies also stressed the need for clear and consistent rules relating to health and travel. There is a need for building a global trust architecture for societies and economies in the context of the pandemic, and there is a “real opportunity for tourism to contribute to that process, with UNWTO playing a critical role”, said Dr Michael Ryan, Executive Director WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme.

Properly managed, tourism has the potential to act as a force for development and opportunity, as highlighted in the sector’s enhanced relevance in the wider United Nations development agenda. Destinations around the world report increased tourist arrival numbers on the back of easing or removing restrictions. This trend offers the potential to kickstart economic recovery and put social development progress back on track.

Among the countries to have revised their travel restrictions is Switzerland, one of Europe’s leading destinations, which welcomed the UNWTO delegation at the beginning of a week of key meetings.

First published at TravelCommunication.net

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

IATA: Travel Restrictions Had Little or No Impact on Spread of Omicron

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IATA: Travel Restrictions Had Little or No Impact on Spread of Omicron

Brussels, Belgium, February 3, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / ACI Europe (Airports Council International) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) urged European Governments to lift all travel restrictions for fully vaccinated/recovered individuals holding a valid Covid Certificate – as advised by the new regime for travel within the EU which comes into force today.

This new regime, set out by an EU Council Recommendation adopted on 25 January, is based on the health status of travellers, rather than the epidemiological situation of their country or area of origin.

Independent research (see link in notes below) conducted in Finland and Italy provides insight into developing a Europe-wide policy for removing restrictions. The research made public today confirms the validity of the traveler-centric approach, highlighting the inefficiency of recent travel restrictions imposed by European countries in mitigating the risks to public health and society posed by COVID-19.

New analysis produced by Oxera and Edge Health reveals that pre-departure testing requirements are likely to be ineffective at stopping or even limiting the spread of the Omicron variant. The analysis of testing restrictions imposed by Italy and Finland on 16 December and 28 December 2021 respectively on all incoming travellers made no distinguishable difference to transmission of Omicron cases in those countries. Conversely, the impact of these restrictions, and in particular the limitations to the free movement of people, resulted in significant and unnecessary economic hardship – not just for the travel and tourism sectors and their workforce, but for the whole European economy.

Crucially, the report also shows that:

– Maintaining pre-departure testing requirements for vaccinated/recovered travellers further will have no impact whatsoever on the future spread of the Omicron variant in Italy and Finland.
– Imposing these restrictions earlier – i.e. on the very day the Omicron variant was identified as an issue by the WHO – would not have stopped its spread nor significantly limited it in Italy and Finland. This is inherent to the fact that variants circulate well ahead of the time by which they are identified, which is the reason why both the WHO and ECDC generally consider travel restrictions to be ineffective.

The fact that both countries are now lifting their pre-departure testing requirements is very welcome. However, concerns remain that:

– Both countries could have lifted them much earlier or altogether avoided imposing them in the first place – lessons must be learned to avoid repeated economic damage with no attendant public health benefit.
– While Finland has lifted restrictions for all incoming vaccinated/recovered travelers, Italy has done so only for incoming travelers from within the EU/EEA. This now needs to extend to all incoming travelers, as there is no health safety benefit in delaying this step any longer.

With the coming into force today of the new regime for intra-EU/EEA travel, and in light of the robust data now made public, ACI EUROPE and IATA urge those countries which continue to deviate from the common EU framework to rapidly align with it. Specifically, we call upon the Governments of Austria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Lithuania and Malta to address this issue as a matter of urgency and abandon unnecessary and damaging restrictions.

In addition, there are no compelling reasons why vaccinated/recovered travellers should be subjected to a different regime whether they travel within the EU/EEA or come from other countries. It is now urgent that the EU Council aligns its outdated Recommendation for travel into the EU (from third countries) with the new regime for intra-EU/EEA travel that comes into force today.

“The new regime for intra-EU/EEA travel is right to focus on a ‘person-based approach’ and to recognise that both vaccinated and recovered travellers should not be subjected to any restriction. But having common EU regimes has so far not prevented States from going their own way. This must stop. We now have further proof – travel restrictions do have a significant effect – but it’s not on public health, it’s on economic stability and livelihoods. In short: they are causing more harm than good,” said Olivier Jankovec, ACI EUROPE Director General.

“The research is clear that the inevitable delay in identifying new variants means that transmission already occurs by the time travel restrictions are imposed. It’s the classic case of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. Keeping testing in place for vaccinated passengers therefore seems completely ineffective from the health point of view, but damages passenger confidence and national economies. This latest research should give governments confidence to implement the EU recommendation in full, enabling Europe to get moving again,” said Conrad Clifford, IATA Deputy Director General.

First published at TravelCommunication.net

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

Virgin Atlantic, Collinson, and PATA Unite to Tackle Vaccine Inequity

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Virgin Atlantic, Collinson, and PATA Unite to Tackle Vaccine Inequity

Bangkok, Thailand, December 16, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Travel industry leaders have united to support the Go Give One campaign to help fund COVID-19 vaccines worldwide. Virgin Atlantic has joined travel services specialist Collinson and the Pacific Asia Travel Association as part of the Global Travel Sector Vaccine Coalition. Together, they will use their collective reach to play a part in ensuring everyone, no matter where they are in the world, has access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

The travel industry has been heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the emergence of a new variant and renewed travel bans, it is urgent to address low vaccination rates in middle and low-income countries.

Anil Soni, Chief Executive Officer of the WHO Foundation, said: “Vaccine inequity is morally unjust and economically and epidemiologically self-defeating. We need everyone to help protect the world. We are thrilled to see this leadership from industry heavyweights to get vaccines to people who need them most. The Global Travel Sector Vaccine Coalition is a great example of how companies can join forces to make a global difference. We invite other members of the travel industry to join us to power vaccines around the world. Together, we can all play our part to ensure vaccines for everyone, everywhere.”

The Collinson COVID-19 Testing Initiative first launched in October 2020 and is now at several major UK airports. Listening to their experience, WHO Foundation and Collinson formed the Travel Coalition in recognition of how the industry can make a real difference.

David Evans, Joint CEO at Collinson, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the WHO Foundation’s Go Give One campaign. The travel and tourism industry knows only too well how important it is for everyone, everywhere to have access to vaccines if we are to end the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve seen first-hand how our industry has had to adapt to ensure the safety of people and organisations in this new reality and are calling on the sector now to join us as part of the Travel Coalition. There’s a true power in numbers to getting this done, and we’re urging our customers to give what they can, as well as asking other travel companies to join forces with us. It’s time to stamp out vaccine inequality, so support however, you can, especially during this time of year – the season for giving back.”

Virgin Atlantic is supporting the Go Give One campaign through onboard donations this December and with an additional donation from the Virgin Atlantic Foundation.

Corneel Koster, Chief Customer and Operating Officer, Virgin Atlantic, commented: “It’s evident that COVID-19 is something we must learn to live with. We know that en masse vaccine programmes work, thanks to the success we’ve seen in developed nations around the world, but unless we support lower-income countries in accessing these vaccines, we will not beat this global threat. By supporting the WHO Foundation in raising funds for the Go Give One campaign through our onboard donations this month, our teams and customers can play a part in helping to close the gap. The WHO Foundation and Virgin Atlantic are grateful for every contribution.

“It costs just £4 to buy a vaccine, meaning even the smallest donations can go a long way. Successful vaccination programmes are the route out of the pandemic and we must all play our part in combating this virus; together we can do our bit to offer vaccines to the world and beat COVID-19.”

Members of the travel industry can join the Global Travel Sector Vaccine Coalition to power vaccines by making corporate contributions, running match giving schemes, and engaging their customers, employees, and clients in the Go Give One campaign.

Liz Ortiguera, PATA Chief Executive Officer, said on tackling vaccine equity as a Travel Coalition member, “We at PATA are calling on our travel sector colleagues to support vaccine equity because no one is safe until everyone is safe. As of the beginning of December 2021, only a little over 8% of people in low income countries have received a first vaccine dose. Individuals, organizations, and governments need to rally to accelerate the recovery. The travel sector has played a critical role in responding to the crisis already – from serving as quarantine hotels to providing staff for field hospitals. We can continue to help enable the solution to this crisis by supporting the vaccine efforts of the WHO Foundation for COVAX AMC.”

Go Give One is a COVID-19 fundraising campaign with no borders. Created by the World Health Organization’s WHO Foundation, the campaign calls on everyone, everywhere to play their part in helping to vaccinate the world. Every $5 / £4 donated funds a vaccine, through the Gavi COVAX AMC, which buys COVID-19 vaccines for low-and middle -income countries in order to help protect those the most vulnerable and at risk groups.

Alongside the Global Travel Sector Vaccine Coalition, Go Give One harnesses the power of companies to engage their employees, customers, partners, and networks to offer the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to vaccine equity. Partners of the Go Give One campaign are making corporate or match donations, donating a portion of sales from a product line, engaging their employees or clients in campaigns, offering peer-to-peer challenges, using their network to scale vaccine equity around the world.

About PATA
Founded in 1951, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is a not-for-profit membership association that acts as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from and within the Asia Pacific region. The Association provides aligned advocacy, insightful research and innovative events to its more than 650 member organisations, including 82 government, state and city tourism bodies, 14 international airlines and airports, 71 hospitality organisations and 75 educational institutions, as well as thousands of young tourism professional (YTP) members across the world. The PATA network also embraces the grassroots activism the PATA Chapters and Student Chapters, who organise numerous travel industry training programmes and business development events across the world. Thousands of travel professionals belong to the 32 local PATA Chapters worldwide, while hundreds of students are members of the 28 PATA Student Chapters globally. The PATAmPOWER platform delivers unrivalled data, forecasts and insights from the PATA Strategic Intelligence Centre to members’ desktops and mobile devices anywhere in the world. PATA’s Head Office has been in Bangkok since 1998. The Association also has official offices or representation in Beijing and London.

About Go Give One
Go Give One, created by the WHO Foundation, is a fundraising campaign with no borders to help vaccinate millions of people around the world. The money raised through the campaign will go directly to the global COVID-19 vaccine financing mechanism – Gavi COVAX AMC – which purchases COVID-19 vaccines for middle and lower-income countries, helping to protect everyone from COVID-19. Our aim is to get 50 million people from around the world to take part in this campaign, showing a stance of solidarity and togetherness against an issue facing us all. We are calling on everyone, everywhere to give $5/£4 to buy a vaccine for someone who wouldn’t otherwise have access to one.

About the WHO Foundation
Established in 2020 as an independent entity, the WHO Foundation complements and strengthens the work of WHO and its global network of partners by mobilizing new funding from diverse sources—including philanthropists, corporate entities, and the public—to drive innovation and transform the global health ecosystem. By addressing the world’s most urgent health issues in a new, transformative, catalytic way, the WHO Foundation aims to provide everyone, everywhere, a healthier, more equitable future. Together, we have so much to achieve.

About Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Atlantic was founded by entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson in 1984, with innovation and amazing customer service at its core. In 2021, Virgin Atlantic was voted Britain’s only Global Five Star Airline by APEX for the fifth year running in the Official Airline Ratings. Headquartered in London, it employs 6,500 people worldwide, flying customers to 27 destinations across four continents. Alongside shareholder and Joint Venture partner Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic operates a leading transatlantic network, with onward connections to over 200 cities around the world. On 3 February 2020, Air France-KLM, Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic launched an expanded Joint Venture, offering a comprehensive route network, convenient flight schedules, competitive fares and reciprocal frequent flyer benefits, including the ability to earn and redeem miles across all carriers. Sustainability remains central to the airline and since September 2019, Virgin Atlantic has welcomed eight brand new Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, helping to transform the fleet into one of the youngest, quietest, and most fuel efficient in the sky. By 2022, the airline will operate a streamlined fleet of 37 twin engine aircraft following the retirement of its B747-400s and A340-600s, making its simplified fleet 10% more efficient than before the Covid-19 crisis impacted.

About Collinson
Collinson is a global leader in the provision of traveller experiences including medical and security assistance and travel medical services. Its travel medical and security assistance business unit has more than 55 years’ experience in the delivery of international medical assistance and emergency care, including the handling of pandemics such as Ebola, Zika, and the coronavirus. Annually, Collinson responds to over 95,000 emergency calls, manages over 40,000 medical cases, and conducts over 3,000 aero-medical evacuations across the 170 countries it serves.

Collinson has over 2,000 employees operating out of 17 locations globally, all working to deliver a broad range of traveller experiences that ensure the safety, welfare, and comfort of 55 million people as they travel for business and leisure around the world. Collinson’s traveller experiences include the world’s leading airport lounge and experiences programme, Priority Pass, as well as travel insurance, identity assistance, flight delay, international health and travel risk management solutions. We work with clients including: American Express, Cathay Pacific, CBA, Mastercard, UnionPay and Visa.

First published at TravelCommunication.net – Global Travel News

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

WTTC Identifies Digital Solutions to Restore International Mobility

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WTTC Identifies Digital Solutions to Restore International Mobility - TRAVELINDEXLondon, United Kingdom, December 7, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / A simplified and interoperable digital solution is vital to fully achieve the recovery of the Travel & Tourism sector. Key WTTC recommendations will remove current patchwork of policies and processes. Following comprehensive analysis and research, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has launched a new groundbreaking report which provides clear recommendations to governments and identifies four key digital solutions to restore international mobility.

Read all the latest WTTC News and Updates here.

The inaugural report provides guidance and calls on governments to adopt a more internationally coordinated response to COVID-19 for the Travel & Tourism sector and implement digital solutions that will facilitate the resumption of safe and stress-free international travel.

Following World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, WTTC has identified four of the most widely used digital COVID vaccination certificates (EU Digital COVID Certificate, ICAO Visible Digital Seal, DIVOC, and SMART Health Cards), and urges governments to accept these major international standards as proof of COVID-19 status, whilst working towards a single global solution.

The report, ‘Digital Solutions for Reviving International Travel’, shows how international travellers, whether fully vaccinated or testing negative, would then have a globally recognised digital COVID certificate that would enable them to travel freely and safely anywhere in the world.

This critical report addresses the current global challenge posed by the existing patchwork of policies and processes, which are not only complex and unsustainable, but also further hinder the recovery of an already struggling sector.

To address this governments should create their own ‘Digital Travel Portal’, allowing travellers to electronically share their digital COVID vaccination or test certificates with their destination before they begin their journey.

After booking their trip, travellers would simply go to the online portal managed by the destination, where their digital COVID certificate would be uploaded, verifying the status online and in seconds, avoiding confusing processes and long queues.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “WTTC has been calling on governments to implement a globally coordinated response since the beginning of the pandemic. Today’s report offers the key to harmonise and safely reopen international travel.

“It is governments’ responsibility to ensure there is a safe, secure, simple and digital system in place to restore international mobility. WTTC is recommending a single global portal that recognises the main digital passes currently in use worldwide and acts as a one stop shop for travellers and governments.

“We can use the pandemic to leapfrog technologies and allow contactless travel with embedded data on vaccination and testing status”.

Along with WHO, this innovative report and recommendations also draws on guidance from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD) and commitments made by Governments at the G7 and G20 for solutions to revive safe international travel.

According to WTTC’s research, in 2020, when the pandemic brought international travel to an almost standstill, more than 62 million jobs were lost, and the sector’s contribution to the global GDP fell by a staggering US$ 4.5 trillion.

Read all the latest WTTC News and Updates here.

These losses have affected the many millions of livelihoods who rely on thriving Travel & Tourism, while also significantly impacting the global economy and development.

First published at TravelCommunication.net – Global Travel News

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

Six More Airlines Implement IATA Travel Pass

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Six More Airlines Implement IATA Travel Pass

Boston, Massachusetts, United States, October 12, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that Etihad Airways, Jazeera Airways, Jetstar, Qantas, Qatar Airways and Royal Jordanian, will implement IATA Travel Pass in a phased rollout across the airlines’ networks. These five airlines join Emirates Airline as IATA Travel Pass implementation pioneers.

The announcement, made on the sidelines of the 77th IATA Annual General Meeting being held in Boston, follows eleven months of extensive testing by 76 airlines.

“After months of testing, IATA Travel Pass is now entering the operational phase. The app has proven itself to be an effective tool to manage the complex mess of travel health credentials that governments require. And it’s a great vote of confidence that some of the world’s best known airline brands will be making it available to their customers over the coming months,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

The app offers a safe and secure way for travelers to check the requirements for their journey, receive test results and scan their vaccine certificates, verify that these meet the destination and transit requirements and share these effortlessly with health officials and airlines prior to departure. This will avoid queuing and congestion for document checks—to the benefit of travelers, airlines, airports and governments.

IATA Travel Pass is a mobile app that can receive and verify a range of COVID-19 test results and digital vaccines certificates. Currently vaccine certificates from 52 countries (representing the source of 56% of global air travel) can be managed using the app. This will increase to 74 countries, representing 85% of global traffic, by the end of November.

IATA Travel Pass is expected to play a key role in the aviation industry’s recovery from the impact of COVID-19. A digitalized solution to manage the paperwork of COVID-19 travel health credentials will support a return to travel when borders reopen. With many governments relying on airlines for COVID-19 document checking this will be critical in avoiding queues and congestion at check-in as travel ramps up.

First published at TravelCommunication.net

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

Majority Want to Prioritize Equitable Access to COVID-19 Vaccines Before Boosters

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WEF - Majority Want to Prioritize Equitable Access to COVID-19 Vaccines Before Boosters - TRAVELINDEXGeneva, Switzerland, September 11, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / A new survey found a majority of fully vaccinated adults would get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot if offered, but think priority should be given to people who have not had a first dose.

The latest World Economic Forum/Ipsos survey was conducted at the end of August in 13 countries and included 9,521 adults under the age of 75, of whom nearly 6,000 had received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The World Health Organization has called for a pause on COVID-19 vaccine booster to narrow the gap in vaccinations between countries.

Genya Dana, Head, Health & Healthcare at the World Economic Forum said: “It is vital we work to close the gap between those with access to vaccines and those without. COVID-19 highlighted how vaccination is by far the most effective public health intervention to protect populations from disease and it is crucial that robust vaccination infrastructure is deployed in every country on earth.

Dr Dana continued: “At least 60% of world’s population needs to be vaccinated by 2022 to get the current pandemic under control – but the issue of equity and access must be front and centre of this effort. With only 0.4% of current doses administered in low-income countries, this crisis will keep multiplying. We need to redouble our efforts to get vaccines to everyone who hasn’t had one yet.”

Boosters likely needed

The survey shows a widespread belief that COVID-19 vaccine booster shots will be needed at least annually to maintain protection against the disease. The expectation was highest in Mexico, Brazil and the United Kingdom, but lowest in Russia.

The survey also showed that a majority of adults who have had two doses of COVID-19 vaccine would get a booster shot if they were offered. Intent to get a booster shot was highest in Brazil (96%), Mexico (93%) and China (90%) and lowest in Russia (62%) and Italy (66%).

About the survey: The survey was conducted by Ipsos on its Global Advisor online platform, August 26-30, 2021, among adults 18-74 years of age in Canada and the United States, and 16-74 in Australia, Brazil, China (mainland), France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Sustainable Development Impact Summit 20-23 September
Equity and inclusion will be key issues discussed at the Forum’s upcoming Sustainable Development Impact Summit. The meeting brings together global leaders from business, government, and civil society under the theme Shaping an Equitable, Inclusive and Sustainable Recovery. It will focus on new technologies, policies and partnerships to advance cooperation, accelerate progress, and highlight tangible solutions to our global challenges. Media can learn more and register here.

About Ipsos
Ipsos is the world’s third largest market research company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people. They serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999.

First published at TravelCommunication.net – Global Travel News

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

WTTC Calls to End Discredited Travel Traffic Light System

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WTTC Calls to End Discredited Travel Traffic Light System

London, United Kingdom, September 2, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has called upon the UK government to finally bring an end to the widely discredited travel traffic light system.

The call comes after the latest update which saw just seven countries added to the green list, with Thailand, a popular winter sun destination for holiday starved Brits, and Montenegro, added to the red list.

Read all the latest WTTC News and Updates here.

Turkey, widely expected to be able to welcome British visitors stayed in no-go red, seriously damaging its travel sector.

WTTC, which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector, says both consumers and Travel & Tourism businesses have lost confidence in the system. It condemns the endless chopping and changing of countries that causes confusion, and only benefits an unregulated market of costly test suppliers.

The global tourism body says planning for most businesses – and holidaymakers – had been rendered next to impossible by the 51st change announced today.

WTTC says the time has come to ditch these disruptive updates completely and allow all those fully vaccinated to travel freely once more – unless travelling to a red-list country.

Travel should be allowed with testing – for the unvaccinated – to ensure those who are unable to get vaccinated are not discriminated against.

PCRs should be replaced with the more affordable antigen tests. However, if the UK government continues to insist on costly and unnecessary PCR tests, it should bear the cost instead of passing it on to consumers, which deters Britons from travelling.

Costly testing is putting travel out of the reach of hard-working families and returning it to the preserve of the wealthy.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO said:

“The traffic light system is widely discredited. It puts the UK at a disadvantage and is squandering the vaccine dividend.

“This is the 51st change in a baffling array of travel bans. Holidaymakers are confused and frustrated. The UK government is seriously damaging the Travel & Tourism sector which in turn supports thousands of businesses and jobs.

“The UK government appears to have no exit plan. The Global Travel Taskforce, set up to oversee these haphazard travel restrictions must set out a clear strategy to recover normal travel.

“Nowhere should be off limits to anyone in the UK who is fully vaccinated, except in exceptional circumstances.

“Turkey is a wonderful country and has been a very popular destination for British holidays for many years. The UK government’s decision to keep it on a no-go ‘red’ list is very disappointing. Travel & Tourism businesses up and down the country were looking forward to welcoming British holidaymakers and the return of Turks living in the UK who are desperate to visit family and friends. WTTC will do all we can to reverse this decision.”

Read all the latest WTTC News and Updates here.

WTTC has helped to spearhead the coordinated international response to the impact of the pandemic upon the global Travel & Tourism sector – which has so far cost more than 307,000 jobs in the UK alone, with many thousands more still at risk.

First published at TravelCommunication.net – Global Travel News

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

IATA Backs European Digital Covid Certificate as Global Standard

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IATA Backs European Digital Covid Certificate as Global Standard

Geneva, Switzerland, August 27, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association (IATA) commended the European Commission for its leadership and speed in delivering the EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) and urged states to make it their global standard for digital vaccine certificates.

“The DCC was delivered in record time to help facilitate the reopening of EU states to travel. In the absence of a single global standard for digital vaccine certificates, it should serve as a blueprint for other nations looking to implement digital vaccination certificates to help facilitate travel and its associated economic benefits,” said Conrad Clifford, IATA’s Deputy Director General.

The EU DCC meets several key criteria which have been identified as important if a digital vaccination certificate is to be effective:

  • Format: the DCC has the flexibility to be used in both paper and digital format
  • QR code: The DCC QR code can be included in both digital and paper format. It contains essential information as well as a digital signature to make sure the certificate is authentic.
  • Verification and authentication:  The European Commission has built a gateway through which the encrypted data used to sign DCCs and required to authenticate certificate signatures can be distributed across the EU. The gateway can be also used to distribute encrypted data of non-EU certificate issuers other issuers. The EU has also developed a specification for machine readable Validation Rules for cross-country travel.

The EU DCC is implemented in the 27 EU Member states and a number of reciprocal agreements have been agreed with other states’ own vaccination certificates, including Switzerland, Turkey, and Ukraine. In the absence of a single global standard for digital vaccination certificates, up to 60 other countries are looking to use the DCC specification for their own certification. The DCC is an excellent model as it is consistent with the latest World Health Organization Guidance and is fully supported by IATA Travel Pass. Another benefit of the DCC is that it enables holders to access non-aviation sites in Europe that require proof of vaccination, such as museums, sporting events and concerts.

IATA wishes to offer its collaboration to EU Commission and any other interested state to further integrate the DCC into airline processes for a secure and seamless passenger experience, such as support for selective disclosure of personal data.

First published at TravelCommunication.net – Global Travel News

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

IATA: Blocked Airline Funds Could Slow Recovery

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IATA: Blocked Airline Funds Could Slow Recovery

Geneva, Switzerland, August 21, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association (IATA) urged governments to abide by international agreements and treaty obligations to enable airlines to repatriate close to nearly $1 billion in blocked funds from the sale of tickets, cargo space, and other activities.

“Governments are preventing nearly $1 billion of airline revenues from being repatriated. This contravenes international conventions and could slow the recovery of travel and tourism in affected markets as the airline industry struggles to recover from the COVID-19 crisis. Airlines will not be able to provide reliable connectivity if they cannot rely on local revenues to support operations. That is why it is critical for all governments to prioritize ensuring that funds can be repatriated efficiently. Now is not the time to score an ‘own goal’ by putting vital air connectivity at risk,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

Approximately $963 million in airline funds are being blocked from repatriation in nearly 20 countries. Four countries: Bangladesh ($146.1 million), Lebanon ($175.5 million), Nigeria ($143.8 million), and Zimbabwe ($142.7 million), account for over 60% of this total, although there has been positive progress in reducing blocked funds in Bangladesh and Zimbabwe of late.

“We encourage governments to work with industry to resolve the issues that are preventing airlines from repatriating funds. This will enable aviation to provide the connectivity needed to sustain jobs and energize economies as they recover from COVID-19,” said Walsh.

First published at TravelCommunication.net

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News