IATA urged 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 traveler identity, biometrics, and contactless transactions for safe and seamless travel.
- Providing accessible, consistent, clear, and updated information to travelers 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,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General. “The combination of vaccinations and testing are the drivers to make travel broadly and safely accessible. Moreover, Prime Minister 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.”
The emphasis on information sharing, working together to implement practical processes, and data-driven policies is particularly welcome. These are the basis for managing the risks of COVID-19 as we move towards normality.
“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. “Over a year into the crisis, and with six months of experience with vaccines, data exists to support the targeted measures that the G20 is aiming for. Using data to guide restart plans should gain impetus from the G20 action plan.”
Walsh noted that though momentum is building for the restart of travel, more needs to be done.
“People want to fly and exercise the freedom to travel that has been denied by government restrictions,” he said. “But expensive testing requirements will make travel unaffordable for many, weakening the boost to economies that will occur when borders are reopened. That shouldn’t be allowed to happen. Simple, efficient, and affordable programs will be needed to manage the testing and vaccine verification regimes that will underpin a safe restoration of the freedom of mobility.”