Travel must look at ways to restore air travel between the world’s major financial centres to revive business travel and kickstart a global economic recovery.
That is the message from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), which is advocating a "pilot corridor" between London and New York, with airport Covid testing.
The twin-test "city corridors" scheme would see travellers tested at the airport, before taking a second confirmatory test a few days later.
According to the WTTC, based on analysis of data from Public Health England, two tests in quick succession could identify 80% of passengers with coronavirus, and reduce quarantine from 14 days "to four to six days" – or rule it out altogether.
The WTTC said restoring Atlantic business travel would benefit the entire travel and tourism sector.
While not representing the bulk of tourism spend, lucrative business travel routes make a significant contribution to the profits that keep leisure carriers in business.
The association said the strength of the business travel sector also had a knock-on positive effect not just on airlines, but on hotels, TMCs and ground transport providers, which sustain tens of thousands of jobs and other businesses.
“While the recent ’island policy’ introduced by the UK government marks a step in the right direction with a more targeted approach, WTTC believes a laser-like focus is necessary to reopen key international business routes, which could provide a significant economic boost," said WTTC president and chief executive Gloria Guevara.
“Flights must be restored along ’city corridors’, linking cities with similar low Covid-19 case numbers, such as London and New York, Washington, Paris, Frankfurt, Dubai, Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Shanghai."
Guevara said there was an economic impact of every additional quarantine restriction. "The government should abandon quarantines which don’t work and focus on more targeted measures like ‘city corridors’," Guevara added.
“The WTTC pilot scheme with its twin test regime will help reassure corporates it is safe for their employees to travel, and remove the need for unhelpful quarantines.
“We need a concerted international framework at the highest level to introduce comprehensive, rapid and cost-effective testing at airports, with a worldwide accepted standard of contact tracing and widespread use of face masks.
“To continue with the current chaos would be a huge mistake and would cause further severe economic damage and unnecessary hardship to millions around the world.”