IATA backs G20 plan for resumption of international travel

posted on 6th May 2021 by Edward Robertson
IATA backs G20 plan for resumption of international travel

IATA has welcomed an agreement by tourism ministers from the G20 group of countries to support the safe resumption of travel when possible.

Governments in the group which has representatives from around the world have agreed to follow the G20 Rome Guidelines for the Future of Tourism.

The guidelines support the safe restoration of global travel in the wake of Covid-19 and while IATA has welcomed the plan, it is now urging the G20 to commit to action and introduce them as soon as possible.

IATA director general Willie Walsh also took the opportunity to highlight some of the key points of the plan the he believes can make a difference.

In particular, he urged the travel industry and governments to share the required information needed to make policies for safe travel while also agreeing common international approaches to Covid-19 testing, vaccination, certification and information.

Walsh also highlighted the plans to promote digital traveller identity, biometrics and contactless transactions for safe travel as well as providing accessible and clear information for travellers to allow them to plan their trips.

Finally, he welcomed plans to maintain and improve connectivity, safety and sustainability of transport systems.

Walsh said: “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.”

He also reiterated that information sharing, working together to implement practical processes and data drive policies would be key to the successful reopening of the world’s travel industry.

Walsh added: “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.”

Walsh said airlines around the world are already getting ready for serious resumptions of service and already with borders gradually reopening.

But he warned the G20 against adopting the wrong policies that could end up doing more harm than good to the aviation industry which expects to capitalise on pent-up demand.

Walsh said: “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.”