The International Air Transport Association (Iata) – the global representative body for the airline industry – has welcomed the agreeing, by the Tourism Ministers of the Group of 20 countries (G20), of the ‘Rome Guidelines for the Future of Tourism’. The association urged the G20 governments to follow-up the announcing of the guidelines with action, to restore international mobility.
“The G20 has the right focus and agenda to restart travel and tourism,” affirmed Iata director-general Willie Walsh. “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.”
The ‘Rome Guidelines’ comprise five points. First, the sharing of information between governments and industry, to be fed into decision- and policy-making to allow safe travel. Second, the agreement of standardised international approaches to Covid-19 information, testing, vaccination and certification. Third, encouraging the adoption of interoperable digital identity, biometric and contactless transaction systems for travellers, which follow agreed international standards and respect data privacy. Fourth, provide travellers with updated information that is clear, consistent and accessible. And fifth, ensuring and improving the safety, sustainability and connectivity of transport systems.
“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,” stressed Walsh. “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. 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.”
Already, the association has made significant progress in preparing for the resumption of international tourism. It has developed the Iata Travel Pass, which will give airlines a framework to efficiently and securely manage Covid-19 travel credentials, while preventing fraud. Governments would be easily able to connect with the system. And Iata and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation have developed a Destination Tracker, which provides information to travellers regarding anti-Covid-19 measures in force in various countries, and the requirements for travel to and from them.