The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has published new guidelines for the insurance sector to ensure it is "fit for purpose" and ready to meet the challenges posed by Covid-era travel.
The WTTC said its guidelines have been designed to drive the return of safe, healthy and responsible travel, and were compiled with input from insurance industry leaders.
"Insurance is a vital part of the travel and tourism experience, providing peace of mind and risk mitigation to consumers, suppliers, and organisations," said the WTTC. "The guidelines aim to promote consistent standards, with an increased focus on health and safety – in line with what travellers need and expect."
WTTC president and chief executive Gloria Guevara said it was vital the sector was set up to inform travellers of the risks they face travelling during the pandemic, and as the world emerges from the crisis, what cover they need, and how to obtain the right cover for their needs.
“Insurance is vital for travellers to have peace of mind and confidence to travel and it is now more important than ever to create confidence for consumers," said Guevara.
“We have worked closely with key players across the travel insurance industry to make recommendations to ensure individual travellers, groups and organisations can feel safe and confident enough to travel, sure in the knowledge they have the protection they need."
Guevara added the WTTC’s guidelines were also designed to help insurers create products "containing every contingency" needed to offer travellers the reassurance they need to travel.
Discussions over the guidelines sought to maximise buy-in, alignment and practical implementation, with focus on operational and staff preparedness; ensuring a safe experience; rebuilding trust and confidence; innovation; and implementing enabling policies.
Robin Ingle, chief executive of MSH Ingle International, Travel Navigator and Novus Health, said getting insurance right would be a key pillar of the transition to the "new normal". "WTTC, and its insurance, risk management and travel assistance members, have worked closely to develop guidelines and an FAQ to address insurance-related issues and considerations.
“These guidelines will be an evolving document, and we will be on hand to answer questions to help guide and assist the industry toward a successful restart.”
Beth Godlin, president of Aon Affinity Travel Practice and a member of the WTTC Task Force, added: “The benefits travel insurance and assistance products offer have always been an important part of the travel experience.
"The current global pandemic has directly affected companies in this industry who in turn have developed ways that these products can support the industry and travellers as we return to travel."