The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has unveiled a range of new measures to restart the global travel and tourism sector. The measures have been designed to rebuild confidence among consumers so they can travel safely once the restrictions are lifted.

The new ‘Safe Travels’ protocols provide consistency to destinations and countries as well as guidance to travel providers, operators and travellers, about the new approach to health and hygiene in a post COVID-19 world.

Safe Travels WTTC

The health and safety of travellers and workers is put at the heart of the new global protocols, which have been drawn up by WTTC Members. Based on the best available medical evidence and following guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the new protocols also aim to avoid the emergence of multiple standards, which would only delay the sector’s recovery.

WTTC President and CEO Gloria Guevara said that lack of coordination among governments with the private sector caused long-lasting travel disruption, higher costs and a longer recovery time. She said that coordination and alignment within the sector is vital to ensure that robust global measures are put in place to help rebuild confidence.

We are delighted that for the first time, the global private sector has aligned around these new Safe Travels protocols which will create consistency across the sector. Now we are calling on governments to adopt them so that they can be implemented and restore much-needed confidence to restart the travel and tourism sector.

Evidence from the WTTC Crisis Readiness report, which looked at 90 different types of crises, highlights the importance of public-private cooperation to ensure that smart policies and effective communities are in place to enable a more resilient travel and tourism sector.

WTTC is devising the new Safe Travels protocols following close consultation with members, as well as industry associations like Airports Council International (ACI), Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and International Air Transport Association (IATA), to bring confidence back and set clear expectations for travellers on their next trip.

These will apply across the main industries within travel and tourism including hospitality, aviation, airports, cruise operators, retail, transportation, MICE and tour operators, amongst others.

Detailed discussions are also taking place with key stakeholders and organisations in each industry within the sector to ensure maximum buy-in, alignment and practical implementation, with hospitality and retail guidelines. The WTTC initiative is backed by top CEO and business leaders from across the travel and tourism sector.

WTTC has divided the new guidelines into five pillars: restarting operations; ensuring safe and secure traveller experience; rebuilding trust and confidence; innovation; and implementing enabling policies.

Key measures for hotels / hospitality:

  • Revisit guidance for cleaning teams for all areas of the hotel with a specific focus on high-frequency touch points, such as room key cards
  • Ensure social distancing for guests through signage and guidelines including lifts
  • Retrain staff in infection control, social distancing and enhanced hygiene measures, including hand washing and the use of masks and gloves
  • All extraneous items should be removed throughout the hotel
  • Integrate technologies to enable automation, such as introducing contactless payments where possible
  • Offer room service using no-contact delivery methods
  • Have clear, consistent and enhanced communication with customers on new health and hygiene safety protocols, both digitally and physically at hotels
  • Safe reopening of Food and Beverage outlets and Meeting and Events spaces with specific actions to ensure social distancing, disinfection and food safety

Key Measures for retail :

  • Deep cleaning regimes
  • Staff should be fully familiar and trained in the new policies, including social distancing, the use of thermal scanning and the wearing of face masks
  • Social distancing should be observed in stores through special visual markers
  • Minimise touch points by introducing digital maps, digital queue management, e-menus, virtual personal shopping and roving concierges
  • Promote contactless payments and email receipts wherever possible by providing complimentary WIFI to encourage take up
  • Hand sanitisers at shop entrances and exits, as well as at intervals inside premises and in bathrooms
  • In cafes, restaurants and other food outlets, all menus to be available digitally
  • Special attention placed to seating and queue management in line with social distancing requirements
  • Capacity limits should be introduced in retail car parks to prevent overcrowding

Additional and separate measures for the Aviation and Cruise sectors are still in development and will be announced in due course.

Both sectors, which have always had high health and safety standards, are reassessing their protocols, with new measures around hygiene, deep cleansing and social distancing.

According to the WTTC 2020 Economic Impact Report, travel and tourism was responsible for one in 10 jobs (330 million total) in 2019, a 10.3% contribution to global GDP and generated one in four of all new jobs around the world.

For more information, visit wttc.org