BRUSSELS, Belgium 31 July 2020: As the travel industry
braces for a second Covid-19 wave, the Global Business Travel Association,
calls for widening testing capabilities and requirements across the EU as a
better alternative to blanket travel restrictions.
“Sudden and unilateral shifts in the government
response, such as the imposition of quarantines or border closures, take a
heavy toll on the travel industry, further impeding economic recovery and
causing chaos for travellers”, says the new GBTA executive director Dave Hilfman.
“Increased testing is what we need to restart travel safely. It will
restore confidence and revive travel demand whilst preventing new waves of
infection. Borders cannot stay closed indefinitely, and the economy needs trade
to resume with people back to work and travelling”.
Airlines and airports have already pledged to uphold the
strictest safety standards. Requiring travellers to present negative Covid-19
test results before boarding aircraft would bring necessary additional certainty.
However, this is only possible if Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) nasal swab
tests, which detect Covid-19 infections caused by the novel coronavirus, are
freely and widely available. The EU has a key role to play to encourage all its
member states to invest in the research, development, distribution, and
capacity of Covid-19 testing.
Some EU governments have already announced that they will
make Covid-19 testing obligatory for travellers from high-risk countries. GBTA
understands these unilateral decisions but believes a coordinated approach on
testing at EU level is necessary.
“The European Commission should work with EU governments to
unlock appropriate funding to expand testing capacity, improve the accuracy of
data and speed of information sharing”, adds Hilfman. “This is a pre-requisite
to resurrecting travel and accelerate Europe’s economic recovery”.