WTTC Reveals What the ‘New Normal’ for Travel Will Look Like

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) reveals what it believes the “new normal” will look like when people begin to travel again.

Countries are starting to reopen after COVID-19 lockdowns, and it is likely that travel restrictions will ease up in the near future.

“Traveling in the New Normal” is the WTTC’s plan for reopening, and it includes critical steps and coordinated actions for the travel industry. The guidance also features new standards and protocols in order to offer a safe and responsible road to recovery for the global travel and tourism industry.

Over the last few weeks, the WTTC has worked with the private sector, sharing best practices from different regions around the world to work on the path forward to create new guidance.

The WTTC noted that a Public-private collaboration between business and governments is vital to develop new health protocols and predicts a gradual return to travel over the coming months as a “new normal” emerges before a vaccine.

The WTTC said that travel will most likely return on a domestic level first and then to close-by neighboring countries before long-haul trips resume. The organization also believes that younger travelers, ages 18-35 will be among the first to begin traveling again.

“It is vital for the survival of the travel and tourism sector that we work together and map out the road to recovery, through coordinated actions, and offer the reassurance people need to begin traveling once again,” said Gloria Guevara, WTTC president and CEO. “We have learned from past experiences that when the protocols from private sector are taken into account and we have a coordinated approach the recovery timeframe is significantly reduced, so the private-public sector collaboration is crucial.”

Guevara noted that travelers need reassurance and the industry needs to build confidence.

“We should avoid new, unnecessary procedures that create bottle necks and slow down the recovery. However, a quick and effective restart of travel will only happen if governments around the world agree to a common set of health protocols developed by the private sector, such as those we’ve outlined,” she said. “These must provide the reassurance travelers and authorities need, using new technology, to offer hassle-free, pre-vaccine ‘new normal’ travel in the short term.”

Groups joining the WTTC’s efforts include the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Airport Council International (ACI), Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), United States Travel Association (USTA), Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) the European Travel Commission (ETC) and the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

What can travelers expect when they begin traveling again? Each sector of the travel industry is working on new protocols.

Hotels are developing new digital technology for check-in, adding hand sanitizing stations, contactless payments, changing fitness centers and more.

Cruise operators will take further measures to ensure ships are free of COVID-19 including staff wearing gloves at all times, which are then frequently changed, and more frequent room cleaning.

Airports may test passengers and will increase social distancing measures at the airport and during the boarding process allowing flights to leave airports COVID-19-free.

To speed up the global recovery, WTTC will continue to work closely with the G20, EU, international organizations and governments around the world to help translate the new protocols into easily adopted public policies by each country while adhering to common global standards.

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