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International Organizations

Accelerate Asia Pacific Aviation Recovery Sustainably

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Accelerate Asia Pacific Aviation Recovery Sustainably - AIRLINEHUB.com - TRAVELINDEXSingapore, Singapore, May 19, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged Asia-Pacific states to further ease border measures to accelerate the region’s recovery from COVID-19.

“Asia-Pacific is playing catch-up on restarting travel after COVID-19, but there is growing momentum with governments lifting many travel restrictions. The demand for people to travel is clear. As soon as measures are relaxed there is an immediate positive reaction from travelers. So it is critical that all stakeholders, including governments are well-prepared for the restart. We cannot delay. Jobs are at stake and people want to travel,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General, in his keynote address at the Changi Aviation Summit.

The Asia-Pacific region’s international passenger demand for March reached 17% of pre-COVID levels, after having hovered at below 10% for most of the last two years. “This is far below the global trend where markets have recovered to 60% of pre-crisis levels. The lag is because of government restrictions. The sooner they are lifted, the sooner we will see a recovery in the region’s travel and tourism sector, and all the economic benefits that will bring,” said Walsh.

Walsh urged Asia-Pacific governments to continue easing measures and bring normalcy to air travel by:

– Removing all restrictions for vaccinated travelers.
– Removing quarantine and COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated travelers where there are high levels of population immunity, which is the case in most parts of Asia.
– Lift the mask mandate for air travel when it is no longer required in other indoor environments and public transport.

“Supporting and more importantly accelerating the recovery will need a whole of industry and government approach. Airlines are bringing back the flights. Airports need to be able to handle the demand. And governments need to be able to process security clearances and other documentation for key personnel efficiently,” said Walsh.

China and Japan

Walsh noted that there are two big gaps in the Asia-Pacific recovery story: China and Japan.

“So long as the Chinese government continues to maintain their zero-COVID approach, it is hard to see the country’s borders reopening. This will hold back the region’s full recovery.

While Japan has taken steps to allow travel, there is no clear plan for the reopening of Japan for all inbound visitors or tourists. More needs to be done to further ease travel restrictions, starting with lifting quarantine for all vaccinated travelers, and removing both the on-arrival airport testing and daily arrival cap. I urge the government of Japan to take bolder steps towards recovery and opening of the country’s borders,” said Walsh.

Sustainability

Walsh also called on Asia-Pacific governments to support the industry’s sustainability efforts.

“Airlines have committed to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. A key to our success will be governments sharing the same vision. There are high expectations for governments to agree a long-term goal at the ICAO Assembly later this year. Achieving net zero requires everyone to shoulder their responsibility. And among the most important things that governments should do is incentivizing the production of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). Airlines have bought every drop of SAF that is available. Projects are underway that will see a rapid increase in SAF production over the next years. We see SAF contributing to 65% of the mitigation needed to achieve net zero in 2050. That will require governments to be much more proactive,” said Walsh.

Walsh acknowledged that there have been positive developments in Asia-Pacific. Japan has committed considerable funds for green aviation initiatives. New Zealand and Singapore have agreed to cooperate on green flights. “Singapore’s cross industry International Advisory Panel on a sustainable aviation air hub is a positive example for other states to adopt,” said Walsh. He also called on ASEAN and its partners to do more, particularly looking for opportunities in the region to expand SAF production.

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

IATA: Passenger Recovery Accelerates in February

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IATA Passenger Recovery Accelerates in February - AIRLINEHUB.com - TRAVELINDEXGeneva, Switzerland, April 20, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that air travel posted a strong rebound in February 2022 compared to January 2022, as Omicron-related impacts moderated outside of Asia. The war in Ukraine, which began on 24 February, did not have a major impact on traffic levels.

Note: We are returning to year-on-year traffic comparisons, instead of comparisons with the 2019 period, unless otherwise noted. Owing to the low traffic base in 2021, some markets will show very high year-on-year growth rates, even if the size of these markets is still significantly smaller than they were in 2019.

– Total traffic in February 2022 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was up 115.9% compared to February 2021. That is an improvement from January 2022, which was up 83.1% compared to January 2021. Compared to February 2019, however, traffic was down 45.5%.

– February 2022 domestic traffic was up 60.7% compared to the year-ago period, building on a 42.6% increase in January 2022 compared to January 2021. There was wide variation in markets tracked by IATA. Domestic traffic in February was 21.8% below the volumes of February 2019.

– International RPKs rose 256.8% versus February 2021, improved from a 165.5% year-over-year increase in January 2022 versus the year-earlier period. All regions improved their performance compared to the prior month. February 2022 international RPKs were down 59.6% compared to the same month in 2019.

“The recovery in air travel is gathering steam as governments in many parts of the world lift travel restrictions. States that persist in attempting to lock-out the disease, rather than managing it, as we do with other diseases, risk missing out on the enormous economic and societal benefits that a restoration of international connectivity will bring,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

International Passenger Markets

– European carriers saw their February traffic rise 380.6% versus February 2021, improved over the 224.3% increase in January 2022 versus the same month in 2021. Capacity rose 174.8%, and load factor climbed 30.3 percentage points to 70.9%.

– Asia-Pacific airlines had a 144.4% rise in February traffic compared to February 2021, up somewhat over the 125.8% gain registered in January 2022 versus January 2021. Capacity rose 60.8% and the load factor was up 16.1 percentage points to 47.0%, the lowest among regions.

– Middle Eastern airlines’ traffic rose 215.3% in February compared to February 2021, well up compared to the 145.0% increase in January 2022, versus the same month in 2021. February capacity rose 89.5% versus the year-ago period, and load factor climbed 25.8 percentage points to 64.7%.

– North American carriers experienced a 236.7% traffic rise in February versus the 2021 period, significantly increased compared to the 149.0% rise in January 2022 over January 2021. Capacity rose 91.7%, and load factor climbed 27.4 percentage points to 63.6%.

– Latin American airlines’ February traffic rose 242.7% compared to the same month in 2021, well up over the 155.2% rise in January 2022 compared to January 2021. February capacity rose 146.3% and load factor increased 21.7 percentage points to 77.0%, which was the highest load factor among the regions for the 17th consecutive month.

– African airlines had a 69.5% rise in February RPKs versus a year ago, a large improvement compared to the 20.5% year-over-year increase recorded in January 2022 compared to the same month in 2021. February 2022 capacity was up 34.7% and load factor climbed 12.9 percentage points to 63.0%.

– Brazil’s domestic traffic was up 32.5% in February, compared to February 2021, which was a slowdown compared to the 35.5% year-over-year growth recorded in January.

– US domestic RPKs rose 112.5% year-on-year in February, an improvement compared to the 98.4% rise in January versus the prior year.

2022 vs 2019

The accelerated growth recorded in February 2022 compared to a year ago, is helping passenger demand catch-up to 2019 levels. Total RPKs in February were down 45.5% compared to February 2019, well ahead of the 49.6% decline recorded in January versus the same month in 2019. The domestic recovery continues to outpace that of international markets.

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

Environmental Challenge Aims to Rewild Globally Significant Island Ecosystems

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Environmental Challenge Aims to Rewild Globally Significant Island Ecosystems - TOP25ISLANDS.com - TRAVELINDEXKoror City, Palau, April 16,2022 / TRAVELINDEX / Island Conservation, Re:wild, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, the Government of Panama, and the Government of Palau Launched the 2030 Island-Ocean Connection Challenge at the Ocean Conference with $50 Million Secured.

As island communities around the world suffer some of the worst effects of biodiversity loss and climate change, Island Conservation, Re:wild, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, the government of Panama, and the government of Palau have identified the critical need for conservation efforts that strategically benefit both islands and their interconnected ocean ecosystems.

The partners together launch the 2030 Island-Ocean Connection Challenge at the Our Ocean Conference in Palau. The challenge calls on NGOs, governments, philanthropists and foundations to support the ambitious but achievable goal of restoring at least 40 globally significant island ecosystems from ridge-to-reef by 2030 to benefit biodiversity, climate, and communities. To date, the founding partners and their supporters have secured USD $50 million of the USD $160 million needed to achieve this vision.

By focusing on the links between land and sea ecosystems, the Island-Ocean Connection Challenge will maximize the co-benefits of island conservation for their surrounding marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, seagrass meadows, mangroves, and others. It will also help the livelihoods of island communities and ensure that they are more resilient to climate change. In addition, by restoring 40 globally significant island ecosystems, the challenge aims to protect an estimated 600 populations of 250 threatened wildlife species.

“The Island-Ocean Connection Challenge is a direct response to the triple threats of the climate change, ocean health, and extinction crises—all of which disproportionately impact island ecosystems and island people,” said Penny Becker, vice president for conservation at Island Conservation.

Growing scientific evidence demonstrates that many pristine or restored terrestrial island systems can result in dramatic benefits to surrounding marine ecosystems and species. For example, many native wildlife species living at the land-sea interface are ‘champion species’—critical architects and engineers of healthy ecosystems. Seabirds are one of the best examples of a champion species, as they bring important nutrients from the sea to islands, fertilizing native plants. Nutrients from seabirds and plants then flow into the ocean and nourish the marine ecosystem, bolstering fish populations and coral reef growth and resiliency.

“With Panama leading the way by hosting the next Our Ocean Conference in 2023, we are energized by the launch of the Island-Ocean Connection Challenge and ready to start taking action immediately as a founding partner,” said Milciades Concepcion, the minister of environment of Panama.

Wildlife that lives on islands is particularly susceptible to non-native introduced species, especially predators, that can spread quickly and cause the extinction of native species that have not evolved any defenses. Although islands represent only 5% of terrestrial land area, since 1500, 75% of amphibian, reptile, bird, and mammal extinctions have been on islands and nearly 40% of globally threatened vertebrates are island species.

“We are launching a new era of island restorations and rewilding focused on scaling and deploying collaborative whole-systems conservation plans for optimal impact,” said Wes Sechrest, Re:wild’s chief executive officer and chief scientist. “We can no longer look at these islands as separate from the ocean that surrounds them but must instead look at the ecosystems as a whole if we are to effectively rewild them for the benefit of local communities and the planet as a whole.”

The challenge aims to align Indigenous peoples and local communities, governments, conservation organizations, funders, and researchers to scale this work globally by partnering with island nations to address their most urgent environmental crises and sustainability needs.

“Indigenous peoples and local communities have long understood and managed natural resources in the context of land-to-sea connections,” said Stuart Sandin, director of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography. “Modern conservation science and restoration projects have only recently begun to elucidate, prioritize, and capitalize on these connections to maximize the returns on such investments.”

Restoring and rewilding islands also provide much-needed resiliency for island communities as climate change brings an increase in storms and extreme weather. Overwash can be the most damaging effect of storms, resulting in landslides, loss of property, and loss of life. Native plants are critical to soil stabilization and bolster an island’s ability to withstand sea-level rise during these events.

“Today, we are seeking and urging additional members to join this collaborative and advance this novel restoration and resiliency effort,” Becker said. “Join this movement by adding your commitments, resources, projects, programs, or islands to this 2030 challenge.”

This call to action for reef-to-ridge rewilding includes commitments and resources, projects and/or programs that will benefit island champion species while linking island-ocean ecosystems to optimize benefits for nearshore environments (e.g. coral ecosystems), communities, and climate resilience.

“Our Ocean’s 2022 conference is an opportunity to highlight that land and sea connections are more direct and intimate on small islands. We are proud to announce this call-to-action to support our world’s island communities and their increasing leadership to demonstrate holistic management approaches that meet our unique needs and vulnerabilities,” said Steven Victor, Palau’s minister of agriculture, fisheries, & the environment. “Only together can we bridge traditional knowledge with academic science for island-ocean restoration to maximize ocean and climate benefits for our communities and ecosystems.”

The Island-Ocean Connection Challenge is made possible thanks to a diverse group of partners and funders, including Cookson Adventures, Leo Model Foundation, North Equity Foundation, Sheth Sangreal Foundation, and an anonymous donor. This challenge received a generous seed grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Parties interested in joining the challenge, including philanthropists, foundations, island nations, regional organizations, research institutions, and local, regional and global non-governmental organizations (NGOs), can submit draft membership commitments at www.iochallenge.org.

Re:wild
Re:wild protects and restores the wild. We have a singular and powerful focus: the wild as the most effective solution to the interconnected climate, biodiversity and human health crises. Founded by a group of renowned conservation scientists together with Leonardo DiCaprio, Re:wild is a force multiplier that brings together Indigenous peoples, local communities, influential leaders, nongovernmental organizations, governments, companies and the public to protect and rewild at the scale and speed we need. Learn more at rewild.org.

Island Conservation
Island Conservation is our world’s only international nonprofit conservation organization dedicated solely to preventing extinctions on islands. Our collaborations with local island communities aim to improve livelihoods, manage invasive species, and reintroduce native animals and plant life. Island Conservation is a United States-based 501(c)(3) charitable organization working through diverse local and international partnerships to foster sustainable development, climate resilience, and healthy island-marine ecosystems across the globe. Visit us at www.islandconservation.org.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego is one of the world’s most important centers for global earth science research and education. In its second century of discovery, Scripps scientists work to understand and protect the planet, and investigate our oceans, Earth, and atmosphere to find solutions to our greatest environmental challenges. Scripps offers unparalleled education and training for the next generation of scientific and environmental leaders through its undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs. The institution also operates a fleet of four oceanographic research vessels, and is home to Birch Aquarium at Scripps, the public exploration center that welcomes 500,000 visitors each year.

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

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

UN Secretary-General Calls Private Sector to Help with Post-Pandemic Recovery

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UN Secretary-General Calls Private Sector to Help with Post-Pandemic Recovery - TRAVELINDEXGeneva, Switzerland, January 19, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / In a special address at the virtual World Economic Forum Davos Agenda 2022 on Monday, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres outlined three urgent areas that need to be addressed for the world to emerge from the ongoing global economic and health crisis and to ensure the UN Sustainable Development Goals are achieved.

“Recovery remains fragile and uneven amid the lingering pandemic, persistent labour market challenges, ongoing supply chain disruptions, rising inflation and looming debt traps,” he said. “To chart a new course, we need all hands on deck, especially the global business community.”

The first area that needs immediate attention is confronting the COVID-19 pandemic with equity and fairness. Citing the World Health Organization’s global target to vaccinate 40% of people in all countries by the end of 2021 and 70% by the middle of 2022, Guterres said the world is nowhere near these targets. “If we fail to vaccinate every person, we give rise to new variants that spread across borders and bring daily life and economies to a grinding halt,” he said.

To ensure vaccine equity, he called on countries and manufacturers to prioritize vaccine supply to the global programme COVAX and to support the local production of tests, vaccines and treatments around the world. He also asked pharmaceutical companies to stand in solidarity with developing countries by sharing licences, know-how and technology to find a way out of the pandemic.

The second challenge is the need to reform the global financial system, especially as low-income countries are at a huge disadvantage and are experiencing their slowest growth in a generation. “The burdens of record inflation, shrinking fiscal space, high interest rates and soaring energy and food prices are hitting every corner of the world and blocking recovery, especially in these low- and middle-income countries,” Guterres said. This is stifling any hope of growth by making it even more difficult for governments to invest in the sustainable and resilient systems.

He urged business leaders to help shape a global financial system that works for all countries. This includes working to restructure the long-term debt architecture, addressing corruption and illicit financial flows, ensuring that tax systems are fair and designed in a way that reduce inequalities, and bringing together governments, businesses, the financial sector and international financial institutions to build up private investment in developing countries.

Supporting climate action in developing countries is the third area that needs immediate attention, especially as global emissions are set to increase by 14% by 2030.

“Even if all developed countries kept their promises to drastically reduce emissions by 2030, global emissions would still be too high to keep the 1.5 degree Celsius goal within reach. We need a 45% reduction in global emissions this decade,” Guterres stressed.

Climate shocks, including extreme weather events, forced 30 million people to flee their homes in 2020 alone – three times more than those displaced by war and violence. And 1 billion children are at an extremely high risk of the impacts of climate change. “Turning this ship around will take immense willpower and ingenuity from governments and businesses alike, in every major-emitting nation,” he said. “We see a clear role for businesses and investors in supporting our net-zero goal.”

This, he said, calls for the creation of coalitions of government, public and private financial institutions, investment funds and companies with the technological know-how to provide targeted financial and technical support for every country that needs assistance.

The World Economic Forum’s Climate Action Platform is helping businesses, governments and NGOs accelerate and scale ambition and partnerships needed to drive a sustainable and inclusive future, and its Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders is engaging policy-makers to help deliver the transition to a net-zero economy.

Guterres concluded by saying that many countries need the support, ideas, financing and voice of the global business community.

“If we fail to provide debt relief and financing to developing countries, we create a lopsided recovery that can send an interconnected global economy into a tailspin,” he said. “If we fail to reduce inequalities, we weigh down economic progress for all people in all countries.”

About the Davos Agenda 2022
For over 50 years, the World Economic Forum has been the international organization for public-private cooperation. The Davos Agenda 2022 is the focal point at the start of the year for leaders to share their outlook, insights and plans relating to the most urgent global issues. The meeting will provide a platform to accelerate the partnerships needed to tackle shared challenges and shape a more sustainable and inclusive future.

First published at TravelCommunication.net – Global Travel News

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

PATA Welcomes Trip.com Group as Newest Corporate Member

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PATA Welcomes Trip.com Group as Newest Corporate Member - TRAVELINDEXBangkok, Thailand, November 18, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), is pleased to welcome Trip.com Group, a leading global travel service provider, as its newest corporate member.

By becoming a member of PATA, Trip.com Group confirms its place as leading force in the industry in the region as well as worldwide. Joining the Association will enable Trip.com Group to increase its influence in the sector and continue delivering precious insights to PATA members and partners. This decision will also allow Trip.com Group to contribute to the recovery of the regional industry at a larger scale and further position the Asia Pacific region as a rising destination for both local and international travellers.

Deepening collaboration with PATA will enable Trip.com Group to expand its network in the region and across diverse areas of the tourism industry. PATA provides access to a number of key industry events in established and emerging markets, such as the recent PATA Wellness and Luxury Travel Conference and Mart 2021 that featured a range of industry-leading speakers, including Trip.com Group CEO Jane Sun. By joining the Association, Trip.com Group will also have access to seminars and trainings on evolving regional trends and new developments, enhancing its offering to partners across all business areas.

Jane Sun, CEO of Trip.com Group, commented, “We are delighted to be part of PATA, one of the most respected and trusted travel associations in the region and worldwide. Here at Trip.com Group, we are excited to connect with their strong network of industry players to collaborate on ways to better serve travellers in the region and partners around the world. We look forward to working more closely with the team and doing our part in contributing to the recovery of the region.”

Liz Ortiguera, CEO of PATA, added, “Having Trip.com Group join the Association is wonderful news for us. We are proud to have a leading company becoming a member and we are excited to see how this partnership will help the recovery of the region. Jane Sun and I share common interests and values and we look forward to collaborating on the development of travel opportunities in the region. The pandemic was hard for everyone; however, we are optimistic for the future and look forward to promoting the region again and welcoming travellers from all around the world.”

Trip.com Group is a leading global travel service provider comprising of Trip.com, Ctrip, Skyscanner, and Qunar. Across its platforms, Trip.com Group helps travellers around the world make informed and cost-effective bookings for travel products and services and enables partners to connect their offerings with users through the aggregation of comprehensive travel-related content and resources, and an advanced transaction platform consisting of apps, websites and 24/7 customer service centres.

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 Trip.com Group
Trip.com Group is a leading global travel service provider comprising of Trip.com, Ctrip, Skyscanner, and Qunar. Across its platforms, Trip.com Group helps travellers around the world make informed and cost-effective bookings for travel products and services, and enables partners to connect their offerings with users through the aggregation of comprehensive travel-related content and resources, and an advanced transaction platform consisting of apps, websites and 24/7 customer service centers. Founded in 1999 and listed on NASDAQ in 2003 and HKEX in 2021, Trip.com Group has become one of the best-known travel groups in the world, with the mission “to pursue the perfect trip for a better world”.

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

PATA CEO Liz Ortiguera Shares 8-Point Plan to Support Travel Recovery

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PATA CEO Liz Ortiguera Shares 8-Point Plan to Support Travel Recovery

Bangkok, Thailand, August 27, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / PATA CEO, Liz Ortiguera, shared an email to our network of valued PATA International Members on Aug 19, 2021 with details about her top priorities. Her message has been reposted below:

I am writing this approximately two and a half months into my tenure as CEO, with the world about 20 months into the COVID-19 pandemic and the travel sector in a long-awaited, slow-starting recovery. Daily cases are still escalating in parts of Asia-Pacific, and I hope you and your family are staying safe and taking all necessary precautions.

Since starting, I’ve had great opportunities to meet (albeit virtually) with various stakeholders within our association and the broader sector. Most importantly, I’ve had the chance to listen to the status of various destinations and members, monitor the ever-changing policies to mitigate risk, and identify opportunities for PATA to best support our members during this crisis.  We’re aware of both the urgent and strategic needs of our valued members and the industry.  Like many of you, I’ve felt the pandemic’s impact both personally and professionally. I initially had my livelihood directly impacted and have been separated from seeing close family members for over 18 months.  Since joining PATA, I have been inspired by the diversity and strength of the network, see great potential and am confident we can drive progress together in this recovery.

With this in mind, I’m sharing now PATA’s 8-Point Industry Recovery Plan to support both immediate and strategic needs.

1 – PATA Crisis Resource Center :

Launched in May 2020, this resource centre is available to all travel sector members and provides recovery playbooks for all travel industries (aviation to hospitality) with toolkits covering communications, marketing, health, policy and case studies.

2 – Government Members’ Only Roundtable:

Earlier this month, PATA launched a roundtable series to share insights and exchange ideas across destinations on restarting travel. The first session of this series featured presentations by select destinations, including Hawaii, Maldives, and Thailand.  The second session just held on Aug 17 featured COVAX/UNICEF with a briefing on vaccine equity, deployment measures and community acceptance strategies.  In the coming weeks and months, we will continue to support our destination members by sourcing subject matter experts and supporting a pan-regional and global dialogue to support the industry recovery.

3 – Innovation Workshop Series and Innovation Hub for Members:

We’ve just launched an Innovation Series of workshop-style webinars designed to deliver practical information to members.  Upcoming topics will range from digital marketing, COVID-19 Safe best practices, leadership and resiliency skills, destination development, etc.  You hopefully saw our member survey for ideas on topics and we would continue to welcome your ideas for future sessions.  We’d like to hear suggested topics that would best support your recovery.

On our website, please also check out our new Travel Innovations Hub – crowd-sourced travel innovation ideas from around the globe. This site is meant to engage and inspire our members. Please send us any interesting innovations you’ve launched yourself, experienced or simply read about to add to this collection.

4 – Ongoing Industry Trends and Forecasts for Members:

With the ever-changing status of multiple elements influencing our recovery, PATA recognises the need for frequent and diverse expert-advised trends and forecast reporting. Through live webinars and research reports supported by our vast network of industry experts, we will continue to regularly deliver expert-sourced intelligence reporting to keep you informed.

5 – Vaccine Equity Initiative supporting COVAX/UNICEF :

A foundational element to our recovery is vaccine equity, deployment, and acceptance across the region and beyond. PATA is proud to provide its support to the COVAX/UNICEF initiative in the form of advocacy, industry education, fundraising and, if required, logistics sourcing.  PATA International Members, Chapter Members and Youth Members are invited to join in the session “Webinar | The Race to End the Pandemic: Ensuring Global Vaccine Equity” on Wed, Aug 25 to understand the importance of vaccine equity and what UNICEF/COVAX is doing to drive global vaccination.

6 – PATA Global Community Connections:

Like the rest of the world, PATA was forced to make a big pivot from offline/real life interactions at physical events to online webinars.   We’ve started hosting hybrid events and will continue to a) deliver engaging in-destination physical events wherever possible and b) complement it by leveraging new, engaging technology platforms and content to bring the members together globally and in smaller forums to support your business development.  The strength and depth of the connections built is a core element to the PATA heritage and value proposition and we will find ways to transcend boundaries to continue that.

7 – Knowledge Share / Collaboration with Global Organisations:

We are in regular collaboration with World Bank, ADB, GIZ and other development organisations/consulting firms on industry leading topics to support the recovery.  We regularly engage with the Global Tourism and Travel Task Force meetings along with leaders from WTTC, IATA, ACI, WEF, ICAO and others.  PATA is looking forward to engaging more industry colleagues in supporting the COVAX/UNICEF Vaccine Equity initiative as a foundation to the industry recovery.

8 – Tourism Destination Resilience:

In April PATA launched a project to respond to the need for a more resilient tourism industry that addresses not only the current COVID-19 pandemic, but the next crisis that will surely follow. PATA is managing a team of 20 subject matter experts to provide a framework that will be launched in four PATA member destinations, with online resources available across the industry. The project addresses pillars of resilience including: Environment, Economy, Community, Visitors and Health & Safety. The project is implemented by PATA with support of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The above is in addition to the delivery of regular events – hosted in either a virtual or hybrid format. We currently have 6 scheduled for the balance of the year with more in development.

I view this as just the beginning of our journey to leverage our vast network’s strengths to support each other in this challenging recovery. Pre-pandemic Asia-Pacific was viewed as the engine for growth in the global travel industry.  That high potential and the pent-up demand is still here with us in the region. I’m confident that we’ll emerge better and stronger with a sharper focus on sustainability. We’re working hard to help accelerate this industry recovery and will continue to support you and the broader industry in capturing Asia-Pacific’s opportunities with responsible travel and tourism.

First published at TravelCommunication.net – Global Travel News

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

IATA Warns Governments on High Cost of Testing

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IATA Warns Governments on High Cost of Testing

Geneva, Switzerland, July 31, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on governments to take action to address the high cost of COVID-19 tests in many jurisdictions and urged flexibility in permitting the use of cost-effective antigen tests as an alternative to more expensive PCR tests. IATA also recommended governments adopt recent World Health Organization (WHO) guidance to consider exempting vaccinated travelers from testing requirements.

According to IATA’s most recent traveler survey, 86% of respondents are willing to get tested. But 70% also believe that the cost of testing is a significant barrier to travel, while 78% believe governments should bear the cost of mandatory testing.

“IATA supports COVID-19 testing as a pathway to reopen borders to international travel. But our support is not unconditional. In addition to being reliable, testing needs to be easily accessible, affordable, and appropriate to the risk level. Too many governments, however, are falling short on some or all of these. The cost of testing varies widely between jurisdictions, with little relation to the actual cost of conducting the test. The UK is the poster child for governments failing to adequately manage testing. At best it is expensive, at worst extortionate. And in either case, it is a scandal that the government is charging VAT,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

The new generation of rapid tests cost less than $10 per test. Provided a confirmatory rRT-PCR test is administered for positive test results, WHO guidance sees Ag-RDT antigen testing as an acceptable alternative to PCR. And, where testing is a mandatory requirement, the WHO’s International Health Regulations (IHRs) state that neither passengers nor carriers should bear the cost of testing.

Testing also needs to be appropriate to the threat level. For example, in the UK, the latest National Health Service data on testing arriving travelers show that more than 1.37 million tests were conducted on arrivals from so-called Amber countries. Just 1% tested positive over four months. Meanwhile, nearly three times that number of positive cases are being detected in the general population daily.

“Data from the UK government confirms that international travelers pose little to no risk of importing COVID-19 compared to existing levels of infection in the country. At the very least therefore, the UK government should follow WHO guidance and accept antigen tests which are fast, affordable and effective, with a confirmatory PCR test for those who test positive. This could be a pathway for enabling even unvaccinated people access to travel,” Walsh said.

Restarting international travel is vital to supporting the 46 million travel and tourism jobs around the world that rely on aviation. “Our latest survey confirms that the high cost of testing will bear heavily on the shape of the travel recovery. It makes little sense for governments to take steps to reopen borders, if those steps make the cost of travel prohibitive to most people. We need a restart that is affordable for all,” said Walsh.

First published at TravelCommunication.net

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

IATA: Air Travel Recovery Continues to Disappoint

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IATA: Air Travel Recovery Continues to Disappoint - AIRLINEHUB.comGeneva, Switzerland, July 29, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced passenger demand performance for June 2021 showing a very slight improvement in both international and domestic air travel markets. Demand remains significantly below pre-COVID-19 levels owing to international travel restrictions.

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

  • Total demand for air travel in June 2021 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was down 60.1% compared to June 2019. That was a small improvement over the 62.9% decline recorded in May 2021 versus May 2019.
  • International passenger demand in June was 80.9% below June 2019, an improvement from the 85.4% decline recorded in May 2021 versus two years ago. All regions with the exception of Asia-Pacific contributed to the slightly higher demand.
  • Total domestic demand was down 22.4% versus pre-crisis levels (June 2019), a slight gain over the 23.7% decline recorded in May 2021 versus the 2019 period. The performance across key domestic markets was mixed with Russia reporting robust expansion while China returned to negative territory.

“We are seeing movement in the right direction, particularly in some key domestic markets. But the situation for international travel is nowhere near where we need to be. June should be the start of peak season, but airlines were carrying just 20% of 2019 levels. That’s not a recovery, it’s a continuing crisis caused by government inaction,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

International Passenger Markets

  • Asia-Pacific airlines’ June international traffic fell 94.6% compared to June 2019, unchanged from the 94.5% decline in May 2021 versus May 2019. The region had the steepest traffic declines for an eleventh consecutive month. Capacity dropped 86.7% and the load factor was down 48.3 percentage points to 33.1%, the lowest among regions.
  • European carriers saw their June international traffic decline 77.4% versus June 2019, a gain from the 85.5% decrease in May compared to the same month in 2019. Capacity declined 67.3% and load factor fell 27.1 percentage points to 60.7%.
  • Middle Eastern airlines posted a 79.4% demand drop in June compared to June 2019, improving from the 81.3% decrease in May, versus the same month in 2019. Capacity declined 65.3% and load factor deteriorated 31.1 percentage points to 45.3%.
  • North American carriers’ June demand fell 69.6% compared to the 2019 period, improving from the 74.2% decline in May versus two years ago. Capacity sank 57.3%, and load factor dipped 25.3 percentage points to 62.6%.
  • Latin American airlines saw a 69.4% drop in June traffic compared to the same month in 2019, improved over the 75.3% decline in May compared to May 2019. June capacity fell 64.6% and load factor dropped 11.3 percentage points to 72.7%, which was the highest load factor among the regions for the ninth consecutive month.
  • African airlines’ traffic fell 68.2% in June versus the same month two years ago, an improvement from the 71.5% decline in May compared to May 2019. June capacity contracted 60.0% versus June 2019, and load factor declined 14.5 percentage points to 56.5%.

Domestic Passenger Markets

  • China’s domestic traffic returned to negative territory in June, declining 10.8% compared to June 2019, following a 6.3% growth in May versus the same period in 2019. New restrictions had been introduced following a COVID-19 outbreak in several Chinese cities.
  • US domestic traffic improved from a 25.4% decline in May versus the same month in 2019, to a 14.9% decline in June. Life in the US was starting to see some normalcy following the easing of measures and the rapid rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination.

The Bottom Line

“With each passing day the hope of seeing a significant revival in international traffic during the Northern Hemisphere summer grows fainter. Many governments are not following the data or the science to restore the basic freedom of movement. Despite growing numbers of vaccinated people and improved testing capacity we are very close to losing another peak summer season on the important trans-Atlantic market. And the UK’s flip-flop to reinstate quarantine for vaccinated arrivals from France is the kind of policy development that destroys consumer confidence when it is most needed,” said Walsh.

“A risk-managed re-connecting of the world is what we need. Vaccinated travelers should have their freedom of movement returned. An efficient testing regime can sufficiently manage risks for those unable to be vaccinated. This is the underlying message in the latest WHO travel guidance. Some governments are moving in this direction. The UK, Singapore and Canada have indicated timelines to open their borders without quarantine for vaccinated travelers. The European Commission has recommended that its member states adopt travel protocols that are closely aligned with the WHO—including testing for unvaccinated travelers. Similar moves to re-open borders in line with the WHO guidance by US—leaders in vaccinating their populations—would give critical impetus to demonstrating that we can live and travel while managing the risks of COVID-19,” said Walsh.

First published at TravelCommunication.net

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News