The WTTC President and CEO said in a statement, released on the organization’s website earlier this week, that although the World Travel and Tourism Council supports measures to halt the spread of COVID-19, she does think that travel-related quarantines that are not 100% necessary should be removed.
The WTTC president and CEO, Gloria Guevara, said in the statement that requiring travelers and holidaymakers to undergo a PCR test should be more than enough. A negative test should act as proof of safe travel:
“Requiring inbound travelers and holidaymakers to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 pre-departure test should ensure safe travel. This will be critical to encourage essential bookings for future flights and holidays.”
Many countries have not decided what kind of tests are required, where this testing should take place, and how long the test results are valid creates an uncertain situation for many in the travel industry.
The UK Sets Strict Entry Protocols
The statement from the WTTC comes after the UK implemented new rules and regulations for people entering the UK. Anyone who enters the United Kingdom will need to self-isolate for ten days before they are allowed to interact with anyone. However, if anyone wants to end their self-isolation early, they can take a PCR test but only after five days of isolation.
According to the WTTC, these rules do nothing but hamper any efforts of rebuilding the travel and tourism sector:
“Unlike many other countries where the proof of a negative test has replaced quarantines, to insist further all arriving travelers must isolate for ten days or undergo a further test five days later is an unnecessary precaution. It will only stifle travel, putting yet more pressure on the embattled Travel & Tourism sector.
The WTTC further stated that it has long called for an internationally recognized rapid and cost-effective testing regime upon departure at airports worldwide. This would avoid exporting the virus, especially by departing outbound passengers and aid the restoration of international travel.
Cruise Industry Will Need A Standard
The cruise industry will be looking on with interest to the developments in the UK. The country struggles to contain an extremely contagious strain of Coronavirus; any re-start of the cruise industry in the UK will be the last thing on the minds of those having to deal with the effects of the Pandemic.
The strict measures implemented could spell a dark future for the cruise industry if other countries like the United States adopt the same strategy. A large number of cruises departing from the United States have a large contingency of international guests that fly into the US.
Five or ten days of quarantine after a flight despite a negative test will mean more delays for the cruise lines, as no guest will accept such a quarantine period before cruising.
It stands to reason that a unified and standardized testing procedure will be implemented worldwide at some point this year. Whether cruise lines will be able or even allowed to sail without it is an entirely different question. As the WTTC President said in her statement:
“Continuing with these damaging quarantines, and added unnecessary restrictions, will impact forward bookings which will be vital to revive international air travel, bring back Travel & Tourism sector jobs and revitalize the global economy, while also protecting public health.
Without international air travel towards major cruise hubs in, for example, the United States, most cruises could very well be a thing of the past, at least for the near future.
The governments are doing everything they can to prevent more infections; however, the need for clear and unified guidelines worldwide is becoming ever more apparent.
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