These small measures can give big push to the tourism sector
If the vaccination levels are high in June, the tourist season will be saved. But if it's delayed to the end of the summer, the economy will suffer a great deal. In those three months of radical uncertainty, we have a lot at stake
The global vaccination campaign represents the greatest moral test of our times
The travel, tourism and hospitality industry has been decimated by the impact of the coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak. Countries are still actively battling the deadly virus but societies and industries are now also looking to rebuild and reemerge from the crisis.
Recent research from WTTC shows a staggering 174 million global travel & tourism jobs are now threatened.
The safe opening of existing travel corridors such as London Heathrow–Dubai, with appropriate testing and hygiene protocols, demonstrates that international travel can already take place at minimal and acceptable risk.
Together with ACI, WEF, and ICC, WTTC has identified four key measures which need to be implemented to restore international travel safely, including globally recognised testing regimes before departure, common health and hygiene protocols that are aligned with globally-established standards set out by ICAO (and the WTTC Safe Travels protocols and Airport Health Accreditation), a risk management regime, and internationally consistent and recognised travel passes.
The tourism industry contributed 6.8 per cent of the total economy amounting to Rs 16,681 billion. It generated 39,82,18,000 jobs which translates to eight per cent of the total employment of the Indian economy.
At the present time, it is WHO's position that national authorities and conveyance operators should not introduce requirements of proof of Covid-19 vaccination for international travel as a condition for departure or entry, given that there are still critical unknowns regarding the efficacy of vaccination in reducing transmission. In addition, considering that there is limited availability of vaccines, preferential vaccination of travellers could result in inadequate supplies of vaccines for priority populations considered at high risk of severe Covid-19 disease. WHO also recommends that people who are vaccinated should not be exempt from complying with other travel risk-reduction measures.
Should the requirement of proof of Covid-19 vaccination for international travellers be introduced in future in accordance with IHR provisions, vaccines must be approved by WHO, and be of suitable quality and universally available, for the protection of all people from international spread of disease.
The Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), in a memorandum to the Goa CM recently said various trade bodies have suggested forming travel bubbles with Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and other CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries, the UK, Poland and Finland for these commercial flights.
Saving the summer depends on two Europe-wide problems: getting people vaccinated and then agreeing rules about whether or not the right to travel should be linked to your vaccination status.
The chief economist of the Bank of Spain, Oscar Arce, told the Spanish newspaper El País: "If the vaccination levels are high in June, the tourist season will be saved. But if it's delayed to the end of the summer, the economy will suffer a great deal. In those three months of radical uncertainty, we have a lot at stake."
Tourism has long been an economic mainstay of Dubai, which welcomed more than 16 million visitors in 2019. Before the pandemic, the aim was to reach 20 million by 2020.
"Dubai seems to be positioning itself as the destination of choice for those wanting to escape lockdown conditions and have a winter break, especially given ski resorts in Europe are largely closed," said Scott Livermore, chief economist at Oxford Economics Middle East.
Ahead of the World Expo, authorities are mounting a huge vaccination campaign, which has seen 14 per cent of the population inoculated. "Travel and tourism is very important to Dubai," Livermore said. "The sector is crucial for generating a sustainable recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The United Nations will continue mobilizing the international community to make vaccines affordable and available for all, to recover better, and to put a special focus on the needs of those who have borne the burden of this crisis on so many levels - women, minorities, older persons, persons with disabilities, refugees, migrants and indigenous peoples.
With the vaccine roll-out, there's some light at the end of the tunnel. COVAX - the global vaccine equity mechanism - has started delivery around the world, including to some of the lowest-income countries. The global vaccination campaign represents the greatest moral test of our times. It is also essential to restart the global economy - and help the world move from locking down societies to locking down the virus.
Covid-19 vaccines must be seen as a global public good. The world needs to unite to produce and distribute sufficient vaccines for all, which means at least doubling manufacturing capacity around the world.