In an effort to restore confidence in travel and tourism, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) unveiled Safe Travels, which are new global protocols designed to create consistency for destinations and countries regarding health and hygiene – and guidance for the travel industry at large once the coronavirus is suppressed.
The protocols, which were drawn up by WTTC, are focused on the health and safety of travelers and workers based on guidelines from the World Health Organization and the CDC.
On the hospitality front, key measures include reevaluating guidance for hotel cleaning teams, with a focus on such high-frequency “touch points” as room key cards; ensuring social distancing for guests through signage and guidelines; offering no-contact room service delivery, and more.
On the retail front, just some of the measures include deep cleaning regimes; the availability of digital menus in restaurants and food outlets; and minimizing touch points by introducing digital maps, virtual personal shopping and roving concierges.
Safety measures for the aviation and cruise sectors are currently being developed and will be announced at a later date.
“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,” said WTTC President and CEO Gloria Guevara. “Coordination and alignment within the travel and 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.”
The development of the Safe Travels protocols was designed in consultation with WTTC members and with input from such organizations as Cruise Lines International Association, IATA and Airports Council International.
“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,” Guevara said. “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 and and tourism sector.”
Meanwhile, major travel companies have endorsed the protocols. “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 travelers wherever their journey takes them,” Chris Nassetta, WTTC chairman and Hilton’s president and CEO
Radisson Hospitality President and CEO Federico J. González stressed the importance of the travel industry sharing a common language when it comes to worldwide protocols. “The WTTC Safe Travels protocols will make this same language possible for the benefit of everybody in this industry,” he said. “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.”
Added InterContinental Hotels Group Chief Executive: “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.”
In April, WTTC unveiled research that estimated that 100.8 million travel industry jobs could be lost in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.