A meeting of the Global Tourism Crisis Committee was held virtually from Lisbon, Portugal, on 9 December 2020.
The meeting was held to accelerate the coordination of international cross-border travel principles and protocols in view of a safe and seamless restart of tourism. The members of the Committee recalled, in line with WHO and ECDC/EASA1 guidance, that the prevalence of COVID-19 in tourists is estimated likely to be lower than the prevalence in the general population or among contacts of confirmed cases. Thus, increasing tourism in a country is likely to not increase the threat of spreading of the coronavirus.
The committee stated that travellers should not be considered as a high-risk population, and should be subjected to the same regulations as the local population. Considering the current situation within the country, the latest health and safety protocols implemented by the government on isolation and quarantine must be followed by travellers as well.
With the current epidemiological situation, the Committee emphasised that quarantine or systematic testing for SARS-CoV-2 of air travellers is not recommended. The practices would no longer be productive as a preventative method for COVID-19, and would further delay the recovery of the Travel and Tourism industry. According to The World Travel & Tourism Council, the full economic impact of Travel & Tourism accounts for over 200 million jobs worldwide, with the majority of employees at risk of becoming unemployed due to the previous decline in the industry.
Photo Credit: UNWTO