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Impacting Travel

The travel industry continues with calls to end unnecessary quarantines

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has spoken out in support of new measures designed to eliminate the need for COVID-19-related quarantines for travelers arriving at popular destinations.

WTTC President and CEO Gloria Guevara believes that travelers who provide tourism officials with proof of a negative coronavirus test taken before arrival is enough to avoid the mandatory quarantines that still exist around the world.

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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.

The key now will be to find COVID-19 tests that are not only universally accepted in destinations around the world, but are also affordable enough for travelers of all socioeconomic backgrounds.

“Unlike many other countries where testing a negative test has replaced quarantines, insisting more that all arriving travelers must isolate themselves for ten days or undergo an additional test five days later is an unnecessary precaution,” he said Guevara. “It will only clamp down on travel, which will put even more pressure on the conflicting travel and tourism sector.”

WTTC officials fear that harmful quarantines and unnecessary restrictions will continue to affect future bookings, which will be essential to revive international air travel, regain tourism jobs and protect public health.

In December, the WTTC and the World Economic Forum announced that they are strengthening their partnership to promote sustainable growth in the global travel and tourism sector.

The strategic partnership aims to promote safe and smooth travel, develop projects to increase the competitiveness and sustainability of travel and tourism, and support work related to the future of work and collaborate in crisis and resilience.

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Impacting Travel

WHO official favors COVID-19 testing over mandatory quarantines

A representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) said last week that coronavirus tests should be used more frequently during international travel rather than mandatory quarantines.

According to Reuters.com, the chair of the WHO Emergency Committee, Didier Houssin, revealed during a press conference on Friday that the organization needs to provide new guidance on safe international air travel.

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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.

“And clearly the use of tests is now supposed to have a much bigger place compared to quarantine, for example, which would certainly make things easier considering all the efforts that airlines and airports have put in,” Houssin said. during the press. conference.

Another WHO official, top emergency expert Mike Ryan, shared that traveling in the COVID-19 era was “relatively safe” and presented a “relatively low” health risk, but that “there is no zero risk.”

“So it’s a trade-off that countries have to make,” Ryan told Reuters. “The risk of a traveler arriving and starting another chain of transmission, versus the obvious benefit of allowing travel from a social and economic point of view.”

“You can add tests and different measurements to that. We are seeing that right now. We will come out very soon with more advice for countries in terms of the risk management process. “

In October, United Airlines announced the world’s first free transatlantic COVID-19 pilot testing program for its customers. The airline’s new pilot test program will run between November 16 and December 11 for select flights between Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey and London Heathrow in the UK.

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Impacting Travel

Travel industry groups calling for an end to general quarantines

Growing frustrations surrounding the ever-changing regional quarantine rules set by states and various countries are causing many tourism associations to call for their complete end.

These groups argue that quarantine measures not only discourage the public from traveling by creating ongoing confusion and uncertainty, but they are also not the most effective method of slowing the spread of COVID-19.

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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.

Patrick Whalen, director of the Niagara Global Tourism Institute, said: “Rather than a blanket cutoff of entire countries and states because they have hot spots, it would be better to screen people and allow them not to have to quarantine themselves.”

One of the travel industry’s complaints against quarantines is that the parameters for such restrictions are based on formulas that often result in the state of a state or nation changing frequently, which in itself acts as an impediment. for travelers.

A growing number of tourism organizations are adding their voices to the argument that rapid and reliable contact tracing and testing protocols are a far better option for reducing COVID-19 transmission while enabling the revitalization of the travel sector.

In September, the European Tourism Manifesto alliance, representing 60 organizations, called on national governments to develop harmonized travel restrictions and replace quarantine with testing and tracking.

According to Travel Weekly, a coalition of more than 20 European tourism groups also sent a letter to the European Commission last month, saying: “Extreme travel restrictions, in particular quarantines, are not based on risk.” and “They are not an effective way to fight the epidemic.” The group claimed that EU governments “have demonized our industries and what is an integral part of the European way of life. This must end.”

In the United States, a coalition of 18 commercial travel organizations in September asked the United States government to establish globally accepted COVID-19 testing protocols to allow international air travel, arguing that appropriate testing measures could replace quarantines and border closures.

In addition, the International Airports Council and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) made a joint statement this month advocating the implementation of tests so that borders can be widely reopened. Luis Felipe de Oliveira, Global Director General of the Airports Council, said the groups are “calling for urgent government action to introduce generalized and coordinated passenger testing to eliminate quarantine requirements. Without this action, it is not an exaggeration that The industry is facing collapse. “

The Executive Director of the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), Zane Kerby, said last week that “while public health is paramount to our members, governments must not ignore the catastrophic economic consequences of the steps they have taken in response to COVID-19 “.

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