UN tourism body urges uniformity in virus travel rules

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Dec 01 2020 12:01 PM

A resident wearing a face mask walk along a beach in Borocay on Thursday, the first day of the opening of the island to tourists during the COVID-19 pandemic. Authorities eased restrictions in the country's number one tourist destination, allowing a limited number of local tourists to visit the island after more than six months of quarantine during the coronavirus pandemic. AFP

LAS PALMAS, Spain - The World Tourism Organization called Monday for the standardization of traveler health checks and the establishment of air corridors to ease international travel during the pandemic. 

The call came at a conference in Spain's Canary Islands as the global tourism industry reels from a year in which travel restrictions to slow the coronavirus pandemic have decimated the sector. 

"We call for the adoption of international protocols for COVID-19 tests before departure and the acceptance of the results upon arrival," the UN body said in joint statement with the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and the Spanish tourism ministry. 

The statement came at the end of a one-day conference grouping representatives of more than 95 countries and more than 100 companies that was held in Las Palmas on Gran Canaria. 

It also called for agreements to develop "international travel corridors to facilitate tourism and business travel between countries and cities with similar epidemiological situations". 

The text also warned that until a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19 was widely available, "tens of millions of jobs (in tourism) would likely be lost". 

And it called for "an international standard for contact tracing". 

Just over a month ago, the WTO said international tourists arrivals plunged by an annualized 70 percent during the first eight months of 2020 because of the pandemic.

© Agence France-Presse

RELATED VIDEO

Watch more in iWantTFC