The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has released in April 2020 a document called “Travelling in the New Normal” as part of its comprehensive plan outlining critical steps, coordinated actions, and new standards and protocols toward a safe and responsible road to recovery for the global Travel and Tourism sector.
Most of the “new normal” protocols are already in place. These protocols have been adopted until a vaccine becomes available on a mass scale, large enough to inoculate billions of people. Here’s an excerpt from the WTTC press release articulating the plan for the “new normal:”
- To offer world-class cleanliness, improved hygiene standards and ensure guest safety, hotels are developing protocols based on learnings from offering free rooms to frontline healthcare workers during the COVID-19 crisis.
- There will be new protocols for check-in involving digital technology; hand sanitizer stations at frequent points including where luggage is stored; contactless payment instead of cash; using stairs more often than lifts where the 2 meter rule can be harder to maintain; and fitness equipment being moved for greater separation among other examples.
- Cruise operators will take further measures to ensure ships are free of COVID-19 including staff wearing gloves at all times which are then frequently changed; and more frequent room cleaning.
- Travelers at airports will find themselves tested before they fly and upon arrival at their destination airport. They can expect to see social distancing measures at the airport and during boarding, as well as wearing masks while onboard.
- Aircraft will also be subject to intensive cleansing regimes. These measures will be combined with contact-tracing, via mobile app, that will allow flights to leave airports COVID-19-free.
- The protocols, which have been developed using experience from China’s initial recovery and from new successful standards used by retailers, have been and shared with governments globally, so there is a coordinated approach to travelling within the COVID-19 world.
As travel restrictions are lifted incrementally and many airlines gradually resume air travel, I hope this information gives us some additional consideration around the risks of travelling during the pandemic.
I would also like to take this opportunity to make a plea to everyone to wear mask when going to public spaces. The following has been shared by a friend on social media and I thought it fitting to use this platform to further emphasize the point.
When I wear a mask in public, or decline an invitation to a party or to come inside, I want you to know that:
- I am educated enough to know that I could be asymptomatic and still give you the virus.
- No, I don’t “live in fear” of the virus; I just want to be part of the solution, not the problem.
- I don’t feel like the “government is controlling me;” I feel like I’m being a contributing citizen to society and I want to teach others the same.
- The world does not revolve around me. It is not all about me and my comfort.
- If we all could live with other people’s consideration in mind, this whole world would be a much better place.
- Wearing a mask doesn’t make me weak, scared, stupid, or even “controlled.” It makes me considerate.
When you think about how you look, how uncomfortable it is, or what others think of you, just imagine someone close to you – a child, a father, a mother, grandparent, aunt, or uncle – choking on a respirator, alone without you or any family member allowed at bedside. Ask yourself if you could have sucked it up. Was it worth the risk? Wearing a mask is not political. It’s public health choice!
I am a world traveler myself and I look forward to the day when we can travel freely again within the bounds of normal health precautions.