International co-ordination will be key to ensuring travel bans are lifted and safe global mobility is achieved, according to the Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Angel Gurría.
His remarks follow last week’s G20 Tourism Ministers' Summit in Rome where the respective ministers agreed to support the safe restoration of mobility by following the G20 Rome Guidelines for the Future of Tourism. According to Gurría, more than 90 governments have closed their borders to tourists, while many more have imposed travel restrictions.
“The international flight network has disintegrated, with a 66% drop in scheduled flights. The impact on developing countries will be severe, considering the importance of this sector at the micro-level for households and communities, and at the macro level as a major source of foreign exchange,” he said.
Iata welcomed the support by the G20 ministers to push for increased global mobility, with Director General, Willie Walsh, noting that the emphasis on information sharing, working together to implement practical processes, and data-driven policies were particularly welcome.
"The G20’s call for a combined effort of industry and governments to share information moves us towards the risk management framework that is needed for a restart. No industry knows better that safety is paramount than aviation.
“Effective risk-management – based on evidence, data and facts – underpins everything airlines do, and it is a core aviation competency that can help governments safely reopen borders,” said Walsh.
Iata is urging G20 governments to quickly follow up their endorsement of the guidelines with actions, particularly the five-point agenda to safely restore mobility:
- Sharing information among industry and governments to inform policies and decisions to ensure safe mobility.
- Agreeing common international approaches to COVID-19 testing, vaccination, certification and information.
- Promoting digital traveller identity, biometrics and contactless transactions for safe and seamless travel.
- Providing accessible, consistent, clear and updated information to travellers to encourage and facilitate travel planning and journeys.
- Maintaining and improving the connectivity, safety and sustainability of transport systems.
“The G20 has the right focus and agenda to restart travel and tourism. The combination of vaccinations and testing are the drivers to make travel broadly and safely accessible. Moreover, Prime Minister [Mario] Draghi’s promise that Italy is ready to welcome back the world and encouragement to book holidays should be an inspiration to other world leaders. It captures the urgency that is needed to move forward quickly and safely in restoring the freedom to travel,” said Walsh.
The Summit was one of several ministerial meetings organised as part of the G20 Leaders' Summit 2021, which will be held in Rome in October.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The G20 is made up of 19 countries and the European Union. The 19 countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the UK, and the US.