Global Tourism Crisis Committee Meets Again to Explore Safe Travel in Age of Vaccines

COVID – Travel

Global Tourism Crisis Committee Meets Again to Explore Safe Travel in Age of Vaccines
21 Jan 2021
World Tourism Organization
With countries around the world now rolling out vaccines against the COVID-19 virus, the Committee noted that this opens a critical window in the fight against the pandemic and to promote the safe resumption of international travel. Members highlighted the importance of stepping up coordination, within the framework of the International Health Regulations, of vaccination certificates to ensure the implementation of common, harmonized digital related travel principles, protocols and documents. This would be in line with the work being carried out by the World Health Organization (WHO), which has reported at potential applications of digital technology to enable safe international travel and facilitate arrivals and departures…

Crisis Committee: Recommendations and Next Steps
Meeting on the occasion of the 8th Global Tourism Crisis Committee, held in Madrid, on 18 January 2021 and within the context of the 113th session of the UNWTO Executive Council, the members of the Committee recalled:
[1] That the vaccination opens a critical window of opportunity to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and promote the safe reassuming of international travel alongside other risk mitigation tools such COVID-19 testing.
[2] That according to the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General report to the WHO Executive Council on ‘Strengthening preparedness for health emergencies: implementation of the International Health Regulations (2005); Interim progress report of the Review Committee on the Functioning of the International Health Regulations (2005) during the COVID-19 Response’ the Committee “is looking into the possible applications of digital technology to enable safe international travel, including for documentation at points of entry (arriving and departing travellers), travel history, testing and contact tracing, and possibly vaccination requirements.1
[3] The urgency of accelerating the coordination of international cross-border travel principles and protocols to ensure a safe and seamless restart of tourism in view of the resurge of cases and the continued lack of common principles and mechanisms for testing protocols related to travel.

The Committee called for:
[1] Stepping up the coordination, within the framework of the International Health Regulations2, of vaccination certificates to ensure a timely monitoring, definition and implementation of common, harmonized digital related travel principles, protocols and documents.

[2] Support the standardization, digitalization and interoperability of testing protocols and certification systems, based on commonly agreed evidence and risk-assessment indicators for origin and destination country/territory.

[3] Support of the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s initiative for the development and coordination of a harmonised system in all countries to open borders safely in coordination with World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

[4] The implementation of the ICAO CART Take-off Guidance, including the Manual on Testing and Cross-border Risk Management Measures3 and establishing Public Health Corridors (PHCs), in order to advance the harmonization of testing protocols requirements.

[5] Countries to ensure that measures affecting international traffic are risk-based, evidence-based, coherent, proportionate and time limited.