LONDON, 4 December 2020: International business travel could restart if an agreement is secured to safeguard journeys of up to 72-hours free from quarantines, says the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
The joint recommendation for the short stay exemption comes
from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency and the European Centre for
Disease Prevention and Control (EASA/ECDC). It is welcomed by WTTC, which
represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector.
EASA and ECDC have joined forces to call for an exemption on
quarantine for people travelling for less than 72 hours, a move which WTTC
believes could signal the return of international business travel and provide a
significant economic boost.
The proposal is also under active study by the UK
government, according to the Report of the Global Travel Taskforce, of which
WTTC is a key contributor, which was prepared for the Department for Transport.
WTTC agrees with EASA/ECDC who have called for travellers
not to be automatically considered as high-risk for possibly spreading the
However, the recommendations fall short as they do not
address the replacement of quarantines for a testing regime at departure, with
quarantines causing untold damage to the already struggling global Travel &
WTTC president and
CEO, Gloria Guevara, said: “The revival of international business travel is
crucial to kickstarting the global economic recovery, as last year, inbound
international business travel across Europe accounted for USD111.3 billion
(€99.8 billion), whilst globally it accounted for more than USD272 billion.
“The EASA/ECDC proposed guidelines to exempt passengers from
quarantines for travel of 72 hours or less would be a significant step in the
direction towards the wholesale revival of business travel.
“Airlines, hotels and a vast infrastructure of businesses
within the global Travel & Tourism sector, all heavily rely upon business
travel. The loss of international business travel leaves airlines especially
exposed, particularly on highly competitive short-haul and transatlantic
routes, which depend upon them for the bulk of their profits.
“While we welcome all initiatives which could lead to
the revival of international travel, we hope to persuade EASA and ECDC to focus
on testing at departure, rather than at the point of entry, so as to reduce the
possibility of transmission onboard aircraft and reduce unnecessary barriers to
“These measures will help ensure the long-term resuscitation
of the global travel and tourism sector, which, according to WTTC’s 2020
Economic Impact Report, during 2019, was responsible for one in 10 jobs (330
million total), and made a 10.3% contribution to global GDP and generated one
in four of all new jobs.”
The guidelines from EASA/ECDC considered the reduced
likelihood for infection for those travelling for short periods (i.e. those
expecting to return within 72 hours or less) and where contacts with the local
population are limited and avoiding any social interactions.
It suggests such travellers should not be subjected to
quarantines and/or Covid-19 testing unless they show any symptoms of the virus.
However, it continued to recommend all of those who travel must still ensure
they adhere to local social distancing rules, to protect themselves and others
around them, at all times.