WTTC Chief calls for broad airport testing facilities

Globally recognised testing necessary to offer reassurance to travellers

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has urged governments globally to invest in comprehensive COVID-19 testing facilities at airports aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus. WTTC President and CEO Gloria Guevara said the move was necessary to see the “return of safe travels”.

“It is imperative that all airports, catering for international travel, implement globally recognised testing standards for both inbound and outbound passengers. This will provide reassurance to all travellers, maintain ‘air corridors’ between countries and remove damage and disruption caused by blunt quarantines which massively impact the recovery of the Travel & Tourism sector,” Guevara said.

She said a recent decision by Britain’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office to remove Spain from its travel corridors exception list “risks causing irreparable damage to the Travel & Tourism sector”.

“It also makes no sense; while Spain as a whole, and Catalonia in particular, has a higher rate of coronavirus cases than the UK, the rate in Andalucía, the Balearics and Canaries is actually lower than the UK.”

Guevara said screening processes must involve temperature checks and swab tests for all arriving and departing passengers with results turned around within 24 hours, and only those testing positive – with or without symptoms – should be put into quarantine.

“We are going to have to live with COVID-19 for the foreseeable future so we must do all we can to protect public health and save lives, while restoring consumer confidence, driving the global economic recovery and saving the jobs of millions of people whose very livelihoods depend upon a thriving Travel & Tourism sector.”

Insurance Guidelines

Last week, the WTTC launched Insurance Guidelines aimed at rebuilding global consumer confidence to travel.

The guidelines were prepared based on input from leading companies, many of which have partnered with trusted experts in public health and governments to support safe, healthy and responsible travels.

“Insurance is vital for travellers to have peace of mind and confidence to travel and it is now more important than ever to create confidence for consumers travelling in the ‘new normal’ of COVID-19,” Guevara commented.

Measures are aimed at helping travel insurers create products which contain all contingencies needed to offer the traveller reassurance.

Among the Insurance Guidelines recommendations are:

  • All organisations to provide risk management plans, including how they aim to combat COVID-19, to insurers
  • Organisations to make sure their plans are thorough, practical and simple to follow
  • All staff to be informed of protective measures being taken, which include insurance products that will cover them
  • Insurers to ensure audits identify and plug gaps in and source the right partners and providers to ensure appropriate coverage
  • Insurers to create blanket insurance and crisis management coverage to give comfort to customers
  • Ensure there is enhanced awareness of the terms and conditions, restrictions and coverage limits of insurance products/policies
  • Insurers to provide a minimum base of mandatory coverage for risks posed by COVID-19
  • Educate travellers who are unfamiliar with the risk they could be exposed to and what coverage to look for

See wttc.org/

Lead image credit: Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

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