Global Travel Agency Associations Jointly Appeal to Governments of the World
American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA), Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and European Travel Agents ‘and Tour Operators’ Associations (ECTAA) – which , together, representing the interests of hundreds of thousands of travel agencies and employees around the world, collectively call on the leaders of global governments to align their policies in order to restart international travel as safely and quickly as possible. They say reopening the borders should be an immediate priority.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) reported that travel and tourism was one of the largest sectors in the world in 2019, generating 10.4% of total global GDP ($ 9.2 trillion). Globally, the industry was also responsible for 10.6 percent of all jobs (334 million) and was credited with creating 25 percent of all new jobs.
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The coalition said the recovery of this crucial sector from the devastation caused by the pandemic can only truly begin if global governments standardize their entry requirements, such as vaccine verification and testing protocols. He stressed the urgent need for a universal set of border regulations and agreed with The Economist when he called the current system, “a jumble of rules [that] causes confusion, stifles tourism and leaves businesses struggling to determine who can do what and where.
The agency associations jointly pointed out that, for over a year now, global governments have enacted inconsistent and multifaceted travel restrictions in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19. The variety and scalability of these rules has created confusion and uncertainty among travelers, with catastrophic effects on “future bookings and countless other challenges for travel agencies that are members and partners of our associations.”
In addition to hurting small businesses and people employed in the travel industry, this inability to unify entry requirements also hurts the economies of destinations that depend on tourism income and, to some extent, has a huge impact. on the world economy.
ASTA, ABTA, ACTA, CHTA and ECTAA have highlighted concerns about the continued ruinous effects of COVID-19, especially given the new life the Delta variant has breathed into the pandemic. “With continued uncertainty on the horizon, this kind of news makes those who want to travel less likely to do so,” they wrote.
The coalition therefore calls on government leaders around the world to “create an aligned and synchronized response” by 1) rapidly developing a clear and universal set of vaccine tests and standards; 2) relaxation of entry restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers; and 3) supporting the struggling travel agency sector with economic aid measures.
Travel agencies and advisers are an integral part of the travel industry, the group of industry associations stressed, which have for too long suffered “the bitter consequences of the abrupt cessation of travel caused by the pandemic.” . Now more than ever, they play a vital role in helping consumers navigate the vast complexities of travel planning.