The WTTC discourages the concept of high-risk countries and encourages a focus on travelers

Feb 08, 2021 Impacting Travel

The WTTC discourages the concept of high-risk countries and encourages a focus on travelers

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) urges governments around the world to renounce the concept of “high-risk countries” amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and instead turn their attention to how individual border “high risk travelers” are treated.

The group believes that world leaders will need to redefine their entire approach to risk assessment to revive international business and leisure travel in 2021 and beyond.

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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

“Risk based on entire countries is neither effective nor productive. Redefining risk for individual travelers will be key to opening the door to the return of safe international travel,” said WTTC President and CEO Gloria Guevara in a statement on Friday. “We need to learn from past experiences and crises like 9/11. We cannot continue to label entire countries as ‘high risk’, which means they are all infected. While the UK is currently experiencing high levels of infections, clearly not all British are infected, the same is true of all Americans, Spanish or French. “

“The reality is much more complex,” he added. “It not only stigmatizes an entire nation, but it also stops travel and mobility when many people who test negative on departure and arrival can safely travel without exporting the virus.”

According to the WTTC, an international consensus is needed on the metrics used to assess risk. From there, the group wants officials to develop a cost-effective, comprehensive and rapid departure and arrival testing scheme for all travelers.

“We have to recognize this reality and redefine risk to focus on ‘high risk’ people,” Guevara said. “We strongly believe that implementing a comprehensive testing regimen and the use of technology is the only practical way to safely restore international travel. Additionally, a comprehensive testing program will be less expensive than the economic cost of general quarantines and closures, avoid exporting the virus and allow free movement of travelers while observing improved hygiene protocols, such as the use of masks and social distancing. “

The ultimate goal is to ensure that only those who are infected are forced to isolate themselves so that healthy travelers can enjoy safe travel, as the virus will not disappear anytime soon. “We must learn to live with the virus as it will take time to vaccinate the world’s population. That is why the WTTC has long advocated the introduction of a comprehensive and cost-effective departure and arrival test for all international travelers such as a way to prevent virus carriers from spreading it. “

“A crucial balance must be struck between the priority of public health and the need to maintain economic activity. In addition to ensuring that people are safe and healthy, we must also ensure the health of the global economy and jumpstart 174 million trips and tourism jobs affected by this devastating pandemic ”, concluded Guevara.

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