The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed the agreement by the G20 Tourism Ministers to support the safe restoration of mobility by following the G20 Rome Guidelines for the Future of Tourism. IATA urged G20 governments to quickly follow up their endorsement of the guidelines with actions, particularly the five-point agenda to safely restore mobility:
- Sharing information among industry and governments to inform policies and decisions to ensure safe mobility.
- Agreeing common international approaches to COVID-19 testing, vaccination, certification and information.
- Promoting digital traveler identity, biometrics and contactless transactions for safe and seamless travel.
- Providing accessible, consistent, clear and updated information to travelers to encourage and facilitate travel planning and journeys.
- Maintaining and improving the connectivity, safety and sustainability of transport systems.
“The G20 has the right focus and agenda to restart travel and tourism. The combination of vaccinations and testing are the drivers to make travel broadly and safely accessible. Moreover, Prime Minister Draghi’s promise that Italy is ready to welcome back the world and encouragement to book holidays should be an inspiration to other world leaders. It captures the urgency that is needed to move forward quickly and safely in restoring the freedom to travel,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
The emphasis on information sharing, working together to implement practical processes, and data-driven policies is particularly welcome. These are the basis for managing the risks of COVID-19 as we move towards normality.
“The G20’s call for a combined effort of industry and governments to share information moves us towards the risk management framework that is needed for a restart. No industry knows better that safety is paramount than aviation.
Effective risk management—based on evidence, data and facts—underpins everything airlines do, and it is a core aviation competency that can help governments safely reopen borders. Over a year into the crisis, and with six months of experience with vaccines, data exists to support the targeted measures that the G20 is aiming for. Using data to guide restart plans should gain impetus from the G20 action plan,” said Walsh.
Aviation Getting Ready
The aviation industry is already making critical progress to be ready.
- The IATA Travel Passresponds exactly to the need for reliable testing and vaccination certificates verified against the traveler’s itinerary. This will be particularly useful in furthering the recommendation for digital solutions. IATA Travel Pass will help prevent fraud and provide a framework for airlines to securely and efficiently manage COVID-19 travel credentials that governments could easily tap into. With over a billion doses of the vaccine administered already and a growing number of countries welcoming vaccinated travelers, a system to globally recognize digital vaccine certificates is becoming even more critical.
- The UNWTO/IATA Destination Tracker will give travelers the confidence to plan travel knowing the measures that are in place and requirements to travel.
The G20 agreements add important support to the building momentum to restore travel. Developments in recent weeks include the following:
- A travel bubble opened between Australia and New Zealand
- The European Commission and the European Parliament each announced efforts to welcome vaccinated travelers, and travelers from low-incidence countries to Europe
- The UK is pursuing the gradual resumption of international travel from 17 May
- Italy announced it was planning to implement the European ‘Green Certificate’ in May to facilitate opening borders, and
- France is planning to reopen its borders to international tourists with a “health pass” from 9 June.
“While these are all important steps that build momentum towards re-opening the travel and tourism sector, we need more. People want to fly and exercise the freedom to travel that has been denied by government restrictions. But expensive testing requirements will make travel unaffordable for many, weakening the boost to economies that will occur when borders are reopened. That shouldn’t be allowed to happen. Simple, efficient, and affordable programs will be needed to manage the testing and vaccine verification regimes that will underpin a safe restoration of the freedom of mobility,” said Walsh.
Full Text of the G20 Rome Guidelines for the Future of Tourism
Work with industry and international partners to provide and share information to inform policies and decisions on safe mobility.
A key requirement of safe mobility is the provision and sharing of timely, accurate and transparent information on the health and safety situation in source and recipient countries. In addition, tourism industry bodies and health experts should be consulted to establish evidence on the consequences of travel restrictions and on practicalities for delivering safe travel options.
Pursue opportunities to agree common international approaches to COVID-19 testing, vaccination, certification and information on travelers to enable lifting of inbound and outbound border restrictions.
Restrictions on international travel, including travel bans and quarantine requirements, have serious adverse consequences for international tourism and the wider economy. Targeted measures to prevent transmission of the virus by infected travelers should be promoted where these can be shown to be reliable. This could be achieved by appropriate authorities receiving the necessary and reliable information on a traveler, including testing and vaccination certificates and travel history, to make an individual biosecure risk assessment. This should require developing international standards on the necessary type, timing, frequency and facility of testing and vaccinations, and on the provision and checking of testing and vaccination certificates and travel history data, in compliance with national regulations. The implementation of such measures must take into account ethical issues of non-discrimination of travelers and guarantee the protection of data. There is also a need for clear and widespread communication strategies that are agreed and adhered to by all.
Explore ways to promote the use of digital traveler identity, biometrics and contactless transactions to facilitate safe and seamless travel.
The use of such procedures has become more widespread in recent years and should be accelerated in the interests of safe mobility. Requirements include the interoperability of technologies and systems and mutual recognition of them by appropriate authorities and other users, together with respect for data privacy based on agreed international standards and principles and in accordance with national laws and regulations.
Provide accessible, consistent, clear and updated information to travelers to encourage and facilitate travel planning and journeys.
Information provision is a critical tool in promoting traveler confidence and safe mobility. Clarity is key for the resumption of international travel. Information strategies should seek to promote:
- Clarity on the health and safety situation in destinations and when returning to the origin country, including restrictions and requirements placed on travelers and access to health and emergency services.
- Transparent and reliable information from operators on health and safety protocols in place, in line with international standards, and other arrangements affecting travelers including cancellation options, insurance coverage and repatriation.
- Mobile applications providing real-time information to guide movements, including data on areas of crowding or other health and safety factors, while respecting personal privacy.
- Processes for receiving feedback from travelers, to facilitate better future planning to meet their needs and information requirements.
Maintain and improve the connectivity, safety and sustainability of transport systems.
Transport providers have been seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the future of certain services is in doubt. Appropriate authorities should work together and with the transport sector on policies and actions to restore or maintain connectivity, while also addressing safe mobility and sustainability issues.