The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is warning that a return to country-wide border closures and blanket travel restrictions could derail the industry’s recovery, stalling global economic growth.
As a result, the organization is urging governments around the world to respond to spikes in COVID-19 cases with regional and local measures.
WTTC said it also supports the opening of city to city “air corridors” connecting global financial centers like London and New York that would jumpstart business travel. According to WTTC research, business travelers account for $1 in every $3 spent in New York and £1 out of every £4 spent in London.
“Governments should not close off access to other countries in their entirety. Only regional border measures should be imposed if essential so that the recovery of a country’s whole economy is not jeopardized in future,” WTTC President and CEO Gloria Guevara said in a statement. “The establishment of ‘air corridors’ between financial centers where infection levels are low, such as between London and New York, would provide a vital boost to business travel and aid the economic recovery.”
“Enforcing country-wide restrictions is a blunt instrument which benefits no one; neither travelers, the local population, the economy or the Travel & Tourism sector which has been left reeling from the impact of worldwide travel restrictions,” she added.
WTTC is also asking European countries to adopt more consistent travel rules and requirements across the board to clear up confusion among visitors. The organization’s research shows that every 2.7 percent increase in travelers would generate or recover at least one million travel and tourism jobs.
“It is perfectly possible to fight COVID-19 and support the economic recovery through the Travel & Tourism sector at the same time. We urge governments to consider only local lockdowns as the key to opening the door to a successful way forward,” Guevara concluded.
WTTC recently issued guidelines for safe and seamless travel during the COVID-19 recovery and has been pushing for mandatory masks in all tourism sectors.