London, UK: The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has welcomed the approved guidelines to safely restore global air connectivity, devised by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
ICAO’s COVID-19 Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) has worked with governments, health experts and industry stakeholders to agree and publish comprehensive recommendations for a layered approach of measures to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission while traveling by air.
The measures are contained in ICAO’s ‘Takeoff: Guidance for Air Travel through the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis’.
They complement WTTC’s recently announced Safe Travels protocols, which were designed to drive the return of safe travel and enable industries such as tour operators, hotels, hospitality, travel companies, car rentals, MICE, retail and others, to thrive once again.
WTTC, which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector, recognises ICAO guidelines due to the strictly regulated nature of the aviation sector generally and airlines in particular, and strongly supports the ‘Takeoff’ guidelines.
The WTTC Safe Travels stamp will recognise and could be used by countries and destinations that adopt the Safe Travels protocols and the ICAO Takeoff guidelines for aviation.
CART’s work was developed through broad-based consultations by ICAO with countries and regional organisations, and with important advice from the World Health Organization and key aviation industry groups including the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Airports Council International (ACI World), the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), and the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations (ICCAIA).
Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO, said:
“The safety and hygiene measures taken across the travel experience will be key to rebuild the confidence of travellers and restarting the Travel & Tourism sector.
“The leadership shown by ICAO’s Secretary General, Dr Fang Lui and the President of the ICAO Council, Salvatore Sciacchitano, in the CART process gives the aviation sector the global approach it needs to align its many participants with measures which reassure travellers by reducing the risks of COVID-19 transmission.
“We congratulate ICAO on developing this critical guidance for aviation in cooperation with key industry associations, including IATA and ACI. We now urge governments to adopt them and best practices as quickly as possible, so we can save a sector that is already in a fight for survival.”
Evidence from WTTC’s recently released Crisis Readiness report, which looked at 90 different types of crises in the last 20 years, highlights the importance of public-private cooperation and the implementation of standardised protocols to reduce the time to recover.
According to WTTC’s 2020 Economic Impact Report, during 2019, Travel & Tourism was responsible for one in 10 jobs (330 million total), making a 10.3% contribution to global GDP and generating one in four of all new jobs.