The Tourism sector is currently one of the hardest-hit by the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), but the world is slowly recovering. Making us wait on the edge of our seats, ‘When can we travel safely again?’, ‘When will the borders be open?’, and the ultimate question is: Will it be safe to travel again after the outbreak? It has been said that once the outbreak is over, it could take up to 10 months for the industry to recover.
Specifically, WTTC will create short protocol documents for at least eight industries within Travel & Tourism so as to align the private sector behind common standards to ensure the safety of its workforce and of travellers are the sector shifts to a new normal.
The proposed initial eight industries within Travel & Tourism are: Hospitality, Outdoor Retail, Aviation, Airports, Cruise, Tour Operators, Convention Centres and MICE, Car Rental and Insurance (likely).
In general, here is a few global information regarding Traveling in the new normal from The World Travel & Tourism Council that we need to understand.
Protocols are developed through a risk-based approach to ensure passenger safety and will include as appropriate:
- Reinforcing hand hygiene which can decrease the risk of transmission of respiratory viruses by ~50%
- Utilizing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and gloves
- Installing physical barriers, such as transparent screens to provide proper separation between customers and employees
- Encouraging physical distancing by posting new signage to ensure proper separation in lines and common areas, discouraging congregating in crowded areas, reconfiguring public spaces, or limiting the number of employees and customers in various areas.
- Thinking creatively to limit staff physical contact with customers where practical while still delivering superior service, for example, through online ordering, curbside service delivery, automated entrances and other practices.
- Educating both employees and customers about their shared responsibility to help protect each other in a COVID-19 environment.
Quoting the WTTC, rebuilding trust and confidence became one of the strong pillars in order to make it work. Starting with airports work to rebuild trust and confidence through transparency and communication with travellers, they should ensure they have clear, consistent, and enhanced communication with travellers on new health & hygiene safety protocols via the organisation’s channels, both digitally and physically at airports. Traveller facing/front office staff should be trained to answer questions. Implemented clear signage throughout the airport to inform travellers of the enhanced cleaning protocols, and recommendations. Worked and engaged with local communities, anticipating potential negative reactions. Shared a recommended traveller code of conduct on the basis of advice from health authorities and national policies which may include the wearing of face masks, guidance on hand hygiene. Also cooperation with national authorities on contact tracing apps.
There will be so many changes and going back to the old normal would not be an option. From now on, we need to start being aware and taking charge of our own physical health, and soon enough, we will get used to the new normal traveling standard.