The 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), collectively representing the hundreds of thousands of people who work at travel agencies and related businesses around the world, call on government leaders globally to align and make safely restarting international travel occur by opening borders an immediate priority.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), in 2019, travel and tourism was one of the world's largest sectors, accounting for 10.4% of global GDP (USD $9.2 trillion), 10.6% of all jobs (334 million), and was responsible for creating 1 of every 4 new jobs across the world.
Covid 19 has had an unprecedented impact on people’s lives and economies. A glimmer of hope surfaced with the development and gradual roll-out of the vaccine programmes. They will provide protection to the most vulnerable population groups and help our health systems better cope with the C19 crisis. However, we cannot wait until all people are vaccinated to be able to travel again. This would shatter the hopes of many people wanting to travel and cripple an entire industry already at the brink of bankruptcy. ECTAA is thus calling on the EU and national decision-makers to prepare an EU roadmap for return to travel in time for spring and summer season. We need to give travellers and the industry a perspective when and under which conditions travel can resume as vaccinations are progressively rolled out.
Recognising that tourism has been “badly hit” by the COVID-19 crisis, ECTAA is pleased to see that Tourism Ministers are eager to use the EU Recovery Fund for tourism. ECTAA also welcomes their support for a “harmonized solution” for refunding travel packages, including vouchers (link).