The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has unveiled the second phase of measures to rebuild global consumer confidence to encourage the return of travelling.

The latest protocols are designed to drive the return of safe travel and enable industries, namely tour operators and convention centres, meetings and events to thrive once again.

Detailed discussions took place with key stakeholders and organisations to ensure maximum buy-in, alignment and practical implementation, to set clear expectations of what travellers may experience in the ‘new normal’.

Those relating to airports and airlines have been devised following close consultation with WTTC Members such as Iberia, Emirates Group, Etihad and the Oman Aviation Group among others.

It has also involved the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Airports Council International (ACI) to rebuild trust and provide reassurance that airports and airlines will offer safe environments in which to fly once travel restrictions are relaxed.

Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO, said: “For the first time ever, the global private sector has rallied around our Safe Travels protocols which will create the consistency needed to allow a re-invigorated Travel & Tourism sector re-open for business.

“Among the most important of these measures are those which will enable the aviation sector to take-off. Aviation’s return is critical to help repower the global economic recovery.

“WTTC aviation protocols were created in close collaboration with ACI and IATA. We thank their leaders Angela Gittens and Alexandre de Juniac for their guidance, as it is vital we restore consumer confidence to get people travelling and flying safely again.”

de Juniac, IATA Director General and CEO, said: “COVID-19 is a gamechanger for the travel and tourism sector, requiring us to enhance our approach to health and safety to protect our travellers and workforce.

“Aviation is the business of freedom and it is vital to enable its restart on a safe basis. IATA is delighted to lend its framework and collaborate with WTTC on the Aviation Protocols as part of its Safe Travels initiative. This is an excellent example of the industry solidarity and cooperation that will be so vital to ensuring a strong recovery for travel and tourism.”

Backed by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the new protocols avoid the emergence of multiple standards, and will recognise businesses and governments worldwide which have adopted them to rebuild confidence among consumers.

Measures announced for airlines include:

  • Provide personal protection equipment (PPE) to staff such as masks
  • Reduce passengers’ touchpoints through online check-in before departure, use of self-check in kiosks and bag drop, home-printed bag tags, greater use of biometric e-gates and boarding card reading at gates
  • Provide approved hand sanitisers as appropriate based on high-traffic areas, such as check-in and boarding areas
  • Revisited guidance for cleaning teams for all areas of the plane including washrooms, as well as check in and boarding areas, with a specific focus on high-frequency touch points
  • Consider boarding from back of the plane to the front, window to aisle
  • Limit movement in the cabin as much as possible
  • Retrain crew and frontline staff regarding infection control and hygiene measures

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