Saturday, April 10, 2021

WTTC critical of blanket travel bans | News

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Officials at the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) have argued closing countries is counterproductive and will seriously delay the economic recovery.

The comments come as a number of nations refuse to accept flights from the UK as fears of a new variant of Covid-19 spread.

Gloria Guevara, WTTC chief executive, said: “While protecting public health is paramount, blanket travel bans cannot be the answer.

“They have not worked in the past and they will not work now.”

“If a comprehensive and quick turnaround testing regime were in place at airports across the country to test all travellers before they depart, it would ensure only those infected with Covid-19 are isolated and are prevented from travelling.

“There would be no need for countries to introduce damaging and counterproductive wholesale bans on UK travellers.

“People should not be deterred from travelling because they simply cannot find or arrange to get tested at a local testing centre or lab.

“We need to make it much easier for travellers to get a test prior to their journey.”

There are fears the new variant of Covid-19 could spread significantly faster than existing strains, but scientists argue more work needs to be done.

“Travellers pose no higher risk than other members of the community if they follow all the internationally recognised health safety protocols, including the mandatory wearing of masks and regular testing,” said Guevara.

“While we understand the concern and need to curb the spread of Covid-19, the growing number of blunt travel bans are incredibly disruptive and economically damaging.

“We should not underestimate the terrible social impact of increasing isolation and its effect on mental health.

“Every sector of the economy, not just tourism, will suffer – as will those countries imposing the ban as their own economies feel the impact of border closures and the loss of business.

“The tourism sector will be critical to powering the economic recovery, which is why it is absolutely crucial that action must be taken now to save it. If not, it will collapse, and millions of people will lose their jobs.”



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