Call to G7 to reopen global travel

The G7 heads are facing calls to restart air travel across the world to spur a global economic recovery.

In a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who will chair the G7 summit starting on Friday in Cornwall, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) called for a coordinated  response by the heads of government to restart international travel safely.Restarting business travel and tourism was critical to global economic and social recovery in the wake of the pandemic, said the WTTC, whose members comprise CEOs of many of the world's travel and tourism companies, and industry organisations.Virginia Messina, WTTC senior vice-president and the organisation's acting chief executive, said on Wednesday: “With the global travel and tourism sector hanging by a thread, Boris Johnson is in a unique position to lead the G7 response to restart international travel and save the millions of jobs and livelihoods that depend on a thriving sector.“The situation is critical, so we must put travel and tourism at the heart of all governmental decision making globally and agree a consistent framework to reopen international borders.“We can and should harness the opportunity presented by the hugely successful vaccination rollout, to remove travel restrictions and build bridges not walls, which will allow the safe and free movement of people who are fully vaccinated or can show proof of a negative test."Ms Messina said that, in the G7 countries alone, the sector accounted for 5.11 per cent of the total economy and almost one in ten of all jobs globally. "If we don’t save international travel, we simply won’t achieve global socio-economic recovery," she added.The WTTC letter calls for travel and tourism to be put at the heart of all governmental decision making globally. It says the G7 nations should commit to implementing a consistent framework to safely reopen international travel, through the use of testing, health and hygiene protocols, and digital health travel passes.And it says international borders should reopen between countries with similar successful vaccination rollouts and low levels of infection, such as the US and the UK."This move would unlock both inbound and outbound travel and provide a significant boost to both economies, based on clear, consistent metrics and following a data-driven approach," the WTTC said.According to WTTC’s most recent Economic Impact Report, travel and tourism contributed to 10.4 per cent of global GDP in 2019 and supported more than 330 million jobs.

Read more news and views from David Sapsted.

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