Travel brands must adopt a unified approach for operating amid the coronavirus pandemic or face a lengthy recovery period, according to the president of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
Gloria Guevara said methods for testing passengers and in-resort hygiene standards needed to be coordinated worldwide, otherwise the industry risked confusing consumers.
WTTC will be issuing new guidance to its members in the hospitality sector later this week, Guevara told TTG’s Digital Destinations Festival on Monday (11 May).
She said the processes had been developed using findings from member hotel brands, which had offered rooms to medical workers during the pandemic and had since become “Covid-free”.
“We’re working with cruise lines and tour operators, and we’ll be announcing [more protocols] to try to get some level of consistency.”
Guevara compared the reaction of governments and the industry post-9/11 around airport security, criticising the different methods adopted in airports worldwide for causing confusion and frustration to travellers.
She argued the recovery post-9/11 was far lengthier for the tourism sector as a result.
“Now we are earning that trust back from the travellers [after coronavirus]… we don’t want to make processes more complex – it will take longer to recover,” she warned.
Travellers would need warning if they would be expected to wear a mask during a flight, or be tested upon their arrival into a destination, but would become used to it with the right pre-trip information and if brands and destinations opted for the same policies, said Guevara.
She also urged countries to utilise technology to track and trace Covid-19 cases to isolate and treat infections more quickly and enable tourism in less-impacted areas.
“People are saying you won’t be able to travel before a vaccine, but we disagree – if we learn from countries around the world, and implement the technologies around testing, then we will be able to.”