Air Travel during COVID-19 pandemic

UNWTO and IATA to Focus on Enhancing Consumer Confidence in Air Travel

World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), as the two parties work together to restart global tourism.

Highlighting UNWTO’s unique status as a bridge between the UN system and the private sector, the new agreement will focus on enhancing consumer confidence in travel and placing sustainability at the centre of recovery and future growth.

From the start of the current crisis, UNWTO has led the way in addressing the key factor needed for the successful restart of tourism. This agreement with the global trade association for the airline sector builds on this and deepens the existing collaboration between both organizations to keep geared towards restoring the confidence of travellers.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “Air travel is an essential component of global tourism. This partnership between UNWTO and IATA will see us work closely together to increase confidence in flying and tourism in general. UNWTO will use our expertise in innovation and our status as a connector of public and private sector leaders to help get aviation moving again.”

Closer, more focused collaboration

As well as focusing on building and maintaining confidence in international travel, the new agreement will also see UNWTO and IATA work closely together to foster innovation and promote greater public-private collaboration. As tourism restarts, this MoU will help ensure recovery is sustainable and inclusive.

IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac says: “The safe opening of international borders to tourism is essential. Tourists want to feel safe, and they want to be confident that their travel plans won’t be affected by last-minute changes to rules and regulations. For this to happen, even greater collaboration between the public and private sectors is needed. This enhanced partnership with the World Tourism Organization will help guide aviation’s recovery over the critical months ahead.”

IATA has been an Affiliate Member of UNWTO since 1978, providing a strong voice for the international air transport sector. IATA is also an active member of the Board of the UNWTO’s Affiliate Members and contributed to the UNWTO Global Guidelines to Restart Tourism, released in May to help guide governments and the private sector in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This collaboration was reflected in the final publication. A set distinct set of recommendations for the air transport sector were included, with a focus on the introduction of enhanced hygiene protocols to guarantee the safety of both passengers and airline workers. The Global Guidelines also emphasized the need for strong partnership and coordination at every level of the airline sector.

UNWTO leads a sector united

This latest partnership comes as UNWTO continues to lead the global tourism sector in its response to the challenges posed by the pandemic. As well as close cooperation with private sector associations and businesses, UNWTO also recently signed an agreement with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), that will see the two UN agencies work together to harness the power of tourism to drive the sustainable social and economic development of rural communities.

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