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WTTC warns country-wide border closures could seriously stall global economic recovery

Regional and local measures are advised to combat Covid-19 spikes and help power the global economic recovery, rather than any further country-wide border closures, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

WTTC is urging authorities to take a more carefully calibrated approach and introduce localised measures and only when necessary.

Such an approach would avoid blanket restrictions and prevent stalling the fragile economic recovery, as well as not crippling the already battered and bruised travel and tourism sector.

In a statement, the WTTC said it would support the opening of city to city ‘air corridors’ between global financial centres, such as London, Frankfurt and New York, a measure it believed would help restart business travel – crucial to kickstarting the economic recovery.

A number of countries are experiencing local coronavirus spikes and this is forcing a re-think by a number of governments, which are now having to consider reintroducing tough and unwelcome new ‘anti travel’ measures, the Council said.

With the worldwide Covid-19 deaths passing 600,000, Gloria Guevara (pictured), WTCC president and CEO, said: “Governments should not close off access to other countries in their entirety. Only regional border measures should be imposed if essential.”

“Enforcing country-wide restrictions is a blunt instrument which benefits no one; neither travellers, the local population, the economy or the travel and tourism sector.”

“It is perfectly possible to fight Covid-19 and support the economic recovery through the travel and tourism sector at the same time. We urge governments to consider only local lockdown as the key to opening the door to a successful way forward.”

WTTC research shows that for two of the world’s top business centres, business travellers account for one US dollar in every three spent in New York and one pound sterling out of every four spent in London. WTTC has also called for more consistent Covid-19 travel rules to be adopted by European countries.

The organisation has been concerned that the uneven patchwork of Covid-19 national border restrictions would deter travellers and suppress the resurgence of the travel and tourism sector.

WTTC claimed its research showed that every 2.7% increase in travellers would generate or recover one million jobs in the sector.

WTTC has also recently issued a 10-point Traveller Guideline for Safe & Seamless Travel, including testing and contact tracing to ensure people can enjoy safe travels in the new normal.

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