“Safe Travels” – New Global Protocols to Restart the Travel & Tourism Sector
- Özgür Töre
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector has unveiled a range of new worldwide measures to restart the 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 the post COVID-19 world.
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 Organisation (WHO) and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they also avoid the emergence of multiple standards, which would only delay the sector’s recovery.
Gloria Guevara, WTTC President and CEO, said: “We have learned from the past, especially after the tragedy of 9/11, where the lack of coordination among governments and with the private sector caused long-lasting travel disruption, higher costs and a longer recovery time.
“Coordination and alignment within the Travel & Tourism sector is vital to ensure that robust global measures are put in place to help rebuild confidence and which are jointly embraced by governments and the private sector.
“We are delighted that for the first time ever, 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 globally and restore much-needed confidence in order to restart the Travel & Tourism sector.”
Evidence from WTTC’s 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 & Tourism sector.
WTTC, is devising the new Safe Travels protocols following close consultation with its Members, as well as industry associations like Airports Council International (ACI), Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and International Air Transport Association ( IATA), and, to bring confidence back and set clear expectations of what travellers may front in their next trip.
These will apply across the main industries within Travel & Tourism including hospitality, aviation, airports, cruise operators, retail, transportation, MICE and tour operators amongst others.
Detailed discussions are 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 being released today.
The WTTC initiative has been backed by top CEOs and business leaders from across the Travel & Tourism sector.
Chris Nassetta, WTTC Chairman and Hilton’s President and CEO, said: “We see green shoots of hope emerging as our global community turns its attention toward recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. But we know that travellers will only venture out into the world again when they feel it is safe to do so, making it critically important that we give them the confidence and peace of mind they need.
“The global protocols WTTC has laid out are designed to align the travel and tourism industry around consistent health and safety guidelines that will help protect travellers wherever their journey takes them.”
Federico J. González, Radisson Hospitality President and CEO, said: “We need to make sure that the travel industry speaks the same language and each consumer understands what safety means in hotels, regardless of their location. Having a common worldwide protocol will allow consumers to recognise the same safety standards wherever they travel.
“The WTTC Safe Travels protocols will make this same language possible for the benefit of everybody in this industry. This is the reason why Radisson Hotel Group fully supports this initiative and is looking forward to helping expand the WTTC Safe Travels protocols as much as possible, across the globe.”
Keith Barr, InterContinental Hotels Group Chief Executive, said: “As an industry, we have always made the safety and wellbeing of guests and colleagues our top priority. IHG is proud to support the WTTC in shaping this best practice guidance in areas such as cleanliness and hygiene, all underpinned by the most relevant training and preparedness for hotel teams.
“This important work illustrates how our industry can come together to provide the reassurance and confidence that will be so important as people return to travel.”
WTTC has divided the new guidance into five pillars including restarting operations; ensuring the traveller experience is safe and secure; rebuilding trust and confidence; innovation; and implementing enabling policies.
Measures being announced today include:
Key measures include:
- 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 include:
- 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 being analysed.
According to WTTC’S 2020 Economic Impact Report, during 2019, Travel & Tourism was responsible for one in 10 jobs (330 million total), making a 10.3% contribution to global GDP and generating one in four of all new jobs.