LONDON — The global travel & tourism sector is one step closer to adapting to “the new normal” now that the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has unveiled a range of new worldwide measures.
The Safe Travels protocols, drawn up by WTTC members, have been designed to rebuild confidence among travellers and provide consistency to destinations and guidance to travel providers about the new approach to health and hygiene in the post COVID-19 world.
As they are based on medical evidence and guidelines from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the protocols also avoid the emergence of multiple standards, which WTTC President and CEO Gloria Guevara says would only delay the sector’s recovery.
“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,” she says. “Coordination and alignment within the Travel & 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.”
Guevara says the WTTC is “delighted” that, for the first time ever, the global private sector has aligned around these new protocols.
“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 & Tourism sector,” she adds.
The new Safe Travels protocols were devised in close consultation with industry associations like CLIA, IATA and Airports Council International (ACI). They will apply across the main industries within Travel & Tourism including hospitality, aviation, airports, cruise operators, retail, transportation, MICE and tour operators, amongst others. Detailed discussions are taking place with key stakeholders and organizations in each industry to ensure maximum buy-in, alignment and practical implementation.
The protocols are divided into five pillars: restarting operations; ensuring the traveller experience is safe and secure; rebuilding trust and confidence; innovation; and implementing enabling policies.
Measures include the following:
- Revisit guidance for cleaning teams for all areas of the hotel with a specific focus on high-frequency touch points, such as room key cards
- Ensure social distancing for guests through signage and guidelines including lifts
- Retrain staff in infection control, social distancing and enhanced hygiene measures, including hand washing and the use of masks and gloves
- All extraneous items should be removed throughout the hotel
- Integrate technologies to enable automation, such as introducing contactless payments where possible
- Offer room service using no-contact delivery methods
- Have clear, consistent and enhanced communication with customers on new health and hygiene safety protocols, both digitally and physically at hotels
- Safe reopening of Food and Beverage outlets and Meeting and Events spaces with specific actions to ensure social distancing, disinfection and food safety
- Deep cleaning regimes
- Staff should be fully familiar and trained in the new policies, including social distancing, the use of thermal scanning and the wearing of face masks
- Social distancing should be observed in stores through special visual markers
- Minimize touch points by introducing digital maps, digital queue management, e-menus, virtual personal shopping and roving concierges
- Promote contactless payments and email receipts wherever possible by providing complimentary WIFI to encourage take up
- Hand sanitizers at shop entrances and exits, as well as at intervals inside premises and in bathrooms.
- In cafes, restaurants and other food outlets, all menus to be available digitally
- Special attention placed to seating and queue management in line with social distancing requirements
- Capacity limits should be introduced in retail car parks to prevent overcrowding
Additional and separate measures for the Aviation and Cruise sectors are still in development and will be announced in due course.