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Published on Monday, December 14, 2020

Travel cannot wait for vaccine roll out, warns WTTC

Industry leaders have rejected the idea that vaccinations must be a requirement for travel, arguing it would perpetuate the agony for the beleaguered travel sector.

While welcoming the roll out of a vaccine, the World Travel & Tourism Council said travel must resume now to stave off further job losses.

WTTC President and Chief executive Gloria Guevara said: "The vaccines currently being rolled out are truly game-changers, and hopefully just the first of many which could transform the world, mark the beginning of our return to a more normal way of life and see the return of safe and confident international travel.

"However, it will take considerable time to vaccinate the world and for the vaccines to have a significant effect on the global population, and the global travel and tourism sector simply cannot wait.

"Vaccination must not be a requirement to travel but should co-exist with testing regimes and be considered as a progressive enhancement to already safe travel."

The WTTC said latest data showed 174 million global travel and tourism jobs are now threatened.

The call was backed by Airports Council International (ACI), the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the International Chamber of Commerce.

The WTTC said the safe opening of existing travel corridors, including London Heathrow - Dubai, with appropriate testing and hygiene protocols, 'demonstrates that international travel can already take place at minimal and acceptable risk.'

ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira, said: "While we welcome the rapid development and deployment of vaccines, there will be a considerable period before they are widely available so, during the transition period, tests and vaccines together will play a key role on the industry recovery.

"As they become more available for travellers, there must be a proportionate approach to vaccination before travel balanced with a risk-based approach to testing.

"Just as quarantine effectively halted the industry, a universal requirement for vaccines could do the same and a coordinated and risk-based approach to testing and vaccination going forward will provide passengers with a safe travel environment and foster confidence in air travel."

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