LONDON, 13 July 2020: 
The World Travel & Tourism Council has called upon all travellers to
don protective face masks to show they ‘wear to care’ in the new normal of
travelling.

As countries transition from lockdowns to reopening their
borders, the wearing of face masks helps signal the return of safer travels,
while also providing personal protection for users as well as those around
them.

The advice from WTTC in favour of mandatory mask-wearing
comes from evidence that countries which are recovering faster and avoid second
COVID-19 spikes are those where the use of face masks have been widely enforced
and encouraged. 

Following medical guidance from the Harvard T.H. Chan School
of Public Health, WTTC advises the wearing of masks on all forms of transport
throughout the entire traveller journey, as well as when visiting any interior
venue or those with restricted movement which results in close personal contact
of two metres or less.

WTTC has asked governments around the globe to enforce the
wearing of face masks, as well as enlisting the support of the private sector
to remind customers of their obligations to protect their health and that of
fellow travellers.

Travellers around the world are being encouraged to join in
the WTTC social media campaign, which is launching with the hashtag #wear2care.

Embracing the use of face masks will reduce the risk of
transmission, protect the user and those around them, as well as reintroducing
a sense of normality, as we learn to live with the virus until a vaccine is found.

The new recommendations follow in the wake of WTTC recently
issuing its new guidelines for Safe & Seamless Travel, including testing
and tracing to ensure people can enjoy Safe Travels in the ‘new normal’.

Frequent handwashing complements the use of face masks,
which significantly reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

WTTC president & CEO, Gloria Guevara said: “The
safety and hygiene of travellers and those who work in Travel & Tourism are
of paramount importance, which is why we now strongly recommend masks being
mandatory.

“‘Wear to care’ promotes the protection of face mask users
and visibly shows they care about the welfare and safety of their fellow
travellers, which will help save lives and encourage the return of Safe
Travels.

“The wearing of masks should not be politicised.
Wearing a mask needs to become part of everyday life to ensure everyone enjoys
travelling in safety until a vaccine for COVID-19 is found. We implore the
private sector and global governments to encourage their use, so wearing a mask
becomes the new normal.”

 Harvard University,
T.H. Chan School of Public Health, principal investigator and research
associate Ramon Sánchez said: “Wearing face masks has been proven to provide
the highest level of protection against transmission at 82%. Constant hand
hygiene and surface cleaning, which kills more than 90% of viruses that are
found on surfaces, also prevent the virus from reaching the face from the
hands.

“The public should keep a two-metre distance whenever
they can; however, if that simply isn’t possible, people should increase the
ventilation around them. Inside buildings, this can be done by opening doors
and windows, which decreases the viral concentration by more than 70%.

“Mechanical ventilation, such as air conditioning
decreases it by 80% while going outdoors proves more effective by decreasing
the viral concentration between 90% and 95%.”

WTTC has led a series of initiatives designed to rebuild
global consumer confidence and encourage the return of Safe Travels.

Safe Travels Protocols were developed for the global Travel
& Tourism sector which focused on measures to drive business to car hire
companies, airports, tour operators, attractions and short short-term rentals
among many other travel sectors, to enable them to follow strict health and
hygiene regimes when reopening their businesses.

The welfare of travellers and the millions of people working
across the Travel & Tourism sector is central to the protocols. In addition
to being backed by the United Nations World Tourism Organization, they were
also widely embraced by thousands of businesses around the world.

Travellers around the world can get involved with the WTTC
campaign by sharing pictures of themselves travelling with their masks and
sharing the hashtag #wear2care.

(Source: WTTC)