First-Ever Online Tour and Travel Booking Platform to Experience Pakistan

First-Ever Online Tour and Travel Booking Platform to Experience Pakistan

Islamabad, Pakistan, May 14, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Online Pakistan tour and travel booking startup, PakVoyager connects travellers to local hotels, tour operators, and car rental companies that publish their tour packages on the company’s platform. Tourists can book everything they need for their Pakistan holiday online in one place on PakVoyager’s website via credit card.

Pakvoyager aims to provide traditional tour operators a digital booking platform to publish their Pakistan tours online and facilitate greater reach internationally. It is the only platform in Pakistan that provides online bookings with an omnichannel experience through social media platforms, online chat, WhatsApp, email, and phone for travellers to get customized tour packages and to provide them easy access to customer support. It also offers flexible cancellations too along with authentic content about popular tourist destinations in Pakistan which include delicacies, festivals, and must-see attractions.

“Pak Voyager was borne from my deep understanding of the need for ease and dependability when booking travel and the technology that can make it happen. But, it was also borne from my desire to help foreign tourists to experience the real Pakistan and to be as profoundly shaped by Pakistan’s mountains, lakes, and remote landscapes as I was,” said the founder of the company.

With the motto of promoting sustainable tourism, PakVoyager has set up its office in Hunza valley, a top tourist destination in Pakistan, and hired locals so that host communities benefit from tourism in Pakistan.

About PakVoyager
PakVoyager is a world-class digital platform that helps connect foreign travellers with local hospitality providers, all the while enabling tourists to experience the magic of Pakistan and to better the country and its precious environment. The founder has 10 plus years of experience in technology, ecommerce, and digital payments. Being a native resident of Hunza valley, he has invaluable knowledge of Pakistan tourism.

The company has an international office in the UAE to forge international partnerships with other B2B companies in the travel industry to offer its customers the best possible range of services. PakVoyager’s local office in Hunza Valley, the popular tourist destination of Pakistan, enables it to keep in close contact with local hoteliers and tour operators, as well as look after customers during their time in Pakistan.

High Testing Costs Could Stall the Recovery

High Testing Costs Could Stall the Recovery

Geneva, Switzerland, May 14, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on governments to ensure that high costs for COVID-19 testing don’t put travel out of reach for individuals and families. To facilitate an efficient restart of international travel, COVID-19 testing must be affordable as well as timely, widely available and effective.

An IATA sampling of costs for PCR tests (the test most frequently required by governments) in 16 countries showed wide variations by markets and within markets. Findings include:

  • Of the markets surveyed, only France complied with the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation for the state to bear the cost of testing for travelers.
  • Of the 15 markets where there is a cost for PCR testing to the individual
    • The average minimum cost for testing was $90.
    • The average maximum cost for testing was $208.

Even taking the average of the low-end costs, adding PCR testing to average airfares would dramatically increase the cost of flying for individuals. Pre-crisis, the average one-way airline ticket, including taxes and charges, cost $200 (2019 data). A $90 PCR test raises the cost by 45% to $290. Add another test on arrival and the one-way cost would leap by 90% to $380. Assuming that two tests are needed in each direction, the average cost for an individual return-trip could balloon from $400 to $760.

The impact of the costs of COVID-19 testing on family travel would be even more severe. Based on average ticket prices ($200) and average low-end PCR testing ($90) twice each way, a journey for four that would have cost $1,600 pre-COVID, could nearly double to $3,040—with $1440 being testing costs.

“As travel restrictions are lifted in domestic markets, we are seeing strong demand. The same can be expected in international markets. But that could be perilously compromised by testing costs—particularly PCR testing. Raising the cost of any product this significantly will stifle demand. The impact will be greatest for short haul trips (up to 1,100 km), with average fares of $105, the tests will cost more than the flight. That’s not what you want to propose to travelers as we emerge from this crisis. Testing costs must be better managed. That’s critical if governments want to save tourism and transport jobs; and avoid limiting travel freedoms to the wealthy,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

WHO: States Should Bear the Cost of Testing

The World Health Organisation’s International Health Regulations stipulate that states should not charge for testing or vaccination required for travel, or for the issuance of certificates. The WHO COVID Emergency Committee recently reiterated this position, calling on governments to reduce the financial burden on international travelers of complying with testing requirements and any other public health measures implemented by countries. Many states are ignoring their international treaty obligations, putting a travel recovery in jeopardy and risking millions of livelihoods. High testing costs also incentivize the market for fake certificates.

“Testing costs should not stand between people and their freedom to travel. The best solution is for the costs to be borne by governments. It’s their responsibility under WHO guidelines. We must not let the cost of testing—particularly PCR testing—limit the freedom to travel to the rich or those able to be vaccinated. A successful restart of travel means so much to people—from personal job security to business opportunities and the need to see family and friends. Governments must act quickly to ensure that testing costs don’t stall a travel recovery,” said Walsh.

Among the markets surveyed, France represents the best practice. It bears the cost of testing, including tests to facilitate travel. The European Parliament is moving Europe in the right direction. Last week, it called for testing to be universal, accessible, timely and free-of-charge across the EC.

“France and the European Parliament are helping to lead the way. We are in a health and economic emergency. Testing is part of the road to recovery. So it’s a government responsibility to ensure that testing is accessible to all. If governments are not going to make testing free, at least they must ensure that there is no profiteering by testing companies at the expense of people who just want to get back to some form of normality in their life and travel habits. And that scrutiny should include governments themselves who, under no circumstances, should charge a tax for this critical service,” said Walsh.

The wide variance in testing costs should raise flags among governments. “How is it that the minimum cost of a PCR test can be as low as $77 in Australia but $278 in Japan, for example?” said Walsh. Numbeo data indicates that the cost of living in Sydney, Australia and Tokyo, Japan are similar.

Markets covered in the IATA sampling were Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, UK, USA, and Vietnam. Not all these markets require PCR testing. Nevertheless, the inbound requirements for PCR testing by many states make the availability of affordable options everywhere critical for a travel recovery.

WTTC Data Shows U.S. Still Biggest Travel and Tourism Market

WTTC Data Shows U.S. Still Biggest Travel and Tourism Market

London, United Kingdom, May 14, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Some countries performed better than others due to clear rules and certainty for domestic and international travel. UK records the biggest fall by three places among the world’s top 10 largest tourism markets in 2020 with a staggering GDP fall of 62.3%. Average global loss for countries is 49.1%, compared to 2019 levels, due to the impact of COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Latest data from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) shows the U.S. maintained its position as the largest global Travel & Tourism market, despite suffering a huge 41% fall in GDP last year.

China also kept its position as second biggest Travel & Tourism market, but experienced a harder GDP fall of 59.9% with Japan slightly improving its ranking – from fourth to third – shouldering a GDP fall nearly half that of China, of just 37%.

Meanwhile, the UK, which in 2019 ranked as the world’s fifth biggest Travel & Tourism market, fell three places to number eight, sustaining a punishing GDP fall of 62.3%.

Continuing travel restrictions, and unnecessary and crushing quarantines, caused it to suffer the biggest collapse of the 10 largest Travel & Tourism markets.

The figures from WTTC, which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector, come from its 2021 Economic Impact Report (EIR), which lays bare the devastating impact of COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO, said: “With positive news from across Europe about the gradual reopening of borders we hope to see many more countries adopt a more risk-based approach. This will restore mobility safely through rapid testing and health and hygiene protocols in addition to the benefit of the vaccination rollout.

“The urgent need to restore international travel is starkly evident following the release of WTTC’s data which shows the global Travel & Tourism sector suffered disproportionately hard due to the pandemic. 

“Globally, countries experienced an average fall in GDP contribution of 49.1%, while the worldwide economy shrank by just 3.7% last year, showing how travel restrictions have dramatically reduced Travel & Tourism’s contribution to economies around the world.

“However, despite the travel restrictions designed to curb the spread of the pandemic, the U.S. and China maintained their respective positions as first and second biggest Travel & Tourism markets.

“But both the U.S. and China suffered damaging falls in the sector’s contribution towards their respective GDPs, with the UK experiencing the most damaging collapse of the top 10 markets with a fall in GDP contribution of 62.3%.

“We believe this shows that understandable but misguided actions to curb COVID-19 with ineffective damaging travel restrictions such as quarantines, do more harm than good, and end up crushing the very economies they were designed to protect.

“It is all the more damaging when we know that one in four new jobs created in 2019 were in Travel & Tourism, so the sector will be absolutely vital to powering the global economic recovery.

“As vaccine rollouts continue at pace and international travel gradually resumes, Travel & Tourism will again become a priority for governments around the world.

“Countries such as Israel, the UK and U.S. have made great strides with vaccination programmes, inoculating more than half of their populations, showing there is reason to be optimistic about the future.

“But now is not the time to take our foot off the pedal; we have to press for travel to resume faster to recover the 62 million jobs lost last year and the many millions more which continue to hang in the balance.

“We believe that only countries that offer certainty and a clear protocol for travel will fully recover from the pandemic. Recovery can be achieved with a combination of rapid resting, mask wearing and enhanced health and hygiene measures to complement the vaccine rollout.

“Furthermore, PCR tests are too expensive and inconvenient and will not enable travel to resume, which is why WTTC, and other industry bodies have called for governments around the world to accept the more affordable antigen tests.

“Globally, in 2019, one in 10 jobs depended on our sector and the international coordination and implementation of clear mobility protocols to resume international travel will not only protect these jobs, but they would also bring back to the social benefits and livelihoods of those impacted.”

WTTC’s 2021 Economic Impact Report (EIR) identified other leading global Travel & Tourism markets as suffering similar dramatic GDP falls.

Germany dropped one place from third to fourth position, following a 46.9% drop in the sector’s contribution towards GDP. Meanwhile, Italy rose one place from sixth to fifth, despite experiencing a 51% fall in GDP contribution.

Notably, France, the world’s popular destination in terms of international visitor numbers, rose one position from seventh to sixth, despite its contribution to GDP falling by almost half (48.8%).

WTTC 2021 EIR research revealed the global Travel & Tourism sector suffered a loss of almost US$4.5 trillion in 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19, with nearly 62 million jobs lost, representing a drop of 18.5%, leaving just 272 million employed across the industry globally.

Greg Norman to Renovate Real Club de Golf El Prat under Sustainability Plan

Greg Norman to Renovate Real Club de Golf El Prat under Sustainability Plan

Barcelona, Spain, May 13, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Real Club de Golf El Prat designed a new Sustainability Plan including, among other things, the renovation of the acclaimed Yellow Course. The prestigious Club took advantage of the Pandemic to work on one of its two championship courses to make it more sustainable as well as improve its playability.

The maintenance staff was able to complete the work ahead of schedule without bothering too much our players and the course is now ready for the golf season.

The objective of this Sustainable Plan is to reduce the economic and environmental impact by eliminating some bunkers, modifying others and remodeling fringe areas. Other advantages of this project are the reduction of water consumption, energy and fuel for machineries, and nutrients or phytosanitary products to apply to the course. All of these procedures produce a more “eco-friendly” golf course.

The golf legend Greg Norman was in charge of designing the two golf courses that form Real Club de Golf El Prat, the Pink and the Yellow. It was in 2004 that, after a match between him and Sergio García, the Catalan Club was open to the public.

Norman, who led the renovation, said: “I want to thank very much the Club for entrusting us redoing the 45 holes a few years ago, we had a fantastic journey on that trip relocating the golf courses, but the most important thing that we have come away from all this, is  the sustainability and the playability of all 45 holes. I am proud of the fact that we delivered that to such a great Club. “

Besides improving the sustainability, we wanted to maintain the original design as much as possible. That is why the removed bunkers were turned into rough areas maintaining the original shape.

Around the greens and their sides, the rough areas have been increased to reduce run off. But new maintenance standards are establish for greens, fairways and rough, so that they are always in the best shape as possible. For the entire 2021 for example, greens will be aerated using a new machine that, in spite of having very low impact on green’s playability and not preventing the game, ensures surface quality and speed.

Overall, 56 bunkers have been removed and 31 modified and the players’ feedback has been very positive.

This plan does not only deliver a more eco-friendly course with an improved playability, but also offering members and visitors of Real Club de Golf El Prat a more varied golf Club. Especially, those playing multiple rounds will benefit from the variety of layouts with a demanding Pink course or the easier Yellow, making sure they make the most of their experience.

Adrenaline Delight with Skydiving at Niyama Private Islands Maldives

Adrenaline Delight with Skydiving at Niyama Private Islands Maldives

Niyama Islands, Maldives, May 13, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Parachute into paradise with a thrilling new experience at Niyama Private Islands. The new tandem skydiving experience, which has just launched for guests to experience, takes off from Dhaalu Airport just a short speedboat ride from the resort in the Maldives’ southern Dhaalu Atoll.

Tandem skydiving is the best way for dare devils to experience this adrenaline-fuelled sport in the safest and most stunning of environments. Guests play an active role in the jump, descending by freefall over the tropical islands of the Indian Ocean from a height of 12,000 feet, with a seasoned instructor connected from leap to landing. The jump involves a one-minute freefall at the extreme speed of 200km/hour before the parachute opens for a five minute ‘flight’ down to the white sand beaches, set to a backdrop of spectacular birds-eye views of the resort and the wider atoll.

For photographic evidence, the dive can be captured by a hand camera, whilst for those wishing to share their full dare-devil experience with family and friends and on their social channels, an outside camera can be arranged with a separate skydiver, to create the ultimate memories.

SpaceFund Announces Full Deployment of First Fund

SpaceFund Announces Full Deployment of First Fund

Houston, Texas, United States, May 13, 2021 / / SpaceFund Inc., announced it has fully deployed investments from its first “LaunchPad” fund today. The venture capital firm placed investor funds in 14 companies, including both some well-known NewSpace stars, as well as seeding rising stars it believes capable of helping lead humanity into the frontier of space.

For a better understanding of Space and to join the economic and industrial development of space –

“We’re right on track in our plan to seed and support the growth of these amazing companies,” said SpaceFund founder Rick Tumlinson. “Our formula is working. First we find brilliant frontier tech startups in need of early funding, then we bring in funds from visionary investors, and after significant diligence, we place those funds in just the right places to power the space revolution.”

SpaceFund is rapidly becoming the world’s leading space venture capital company. Its team started the LaunchPad fund in 2019 as a proof of concept to demonstrate its ability to find, navigate, and capitalize on deal flow that may be elusive to those outside of the insular next generation space community.

“We balance our excitement about what is and will be happening in space with a deep and thorough vetting process,” said SpaceFund managing partner and co-founder Meagan Crawford. “We don’t chase rockets, satellite swarms, or shiny objects. Instead, we find brilliant teams with game changing technologies and solid business plans. While some of them may not seem glamorous, they are the foundational elements of a rapidly rising space economy.”

In addition to one stealth company, the LaunchPad fund has now completed building its portfolio with investments in the following companies:

  • Axiom Space: The world’s first commercially built, owned and operated space station.
  • Cognitive Space: Transforming the state of automation and AI for spacecraft and orbital machines.
  • Cosmic Shielding: Major game changing radiation shielding and space weather forecasting.
  • Eden Grow Systems: The first built-for-space integrated food and energy production system, now commercializing this technology for use on Earth.
  • Made In Space (Redwire): The first in-space additive and industrial manufacturing company.
  • Novo Space: The first plug-and-play modular computers for the most ambitious space missions.
  • Orbit Fab: The first Gas Stations in Space™ for satellite refueling and the first  Satellite Gas Cap™ fueling ports.
  • Sen: The first commercial live high-resolution television of Earth (and space), from space.
  • Skyloom: The first high speed laser (optical) space communications network.
  • Space Forge: The first end-to-end, free-flying space micro-manufacturing plants.
  • Space Perspective: The world’s first luxury spaceflight experience company.
  • SpaceX: The world’s most advanced rockets and spacecraft.
  • Voyager Space Holdings: A leading global space exploration company.

“These companies are a good representation of those rising to meet the challenge of what Gerard O’Neill called the ‘High Frontier,’” added Tumlinson. “The seeds our investors are enabling us to plant and support now, will grow into the mighty oaks of the future space industrial ecosystem. With our next BlastOff fund, we will widen this base, finding new leaders, and providing the funding for growth needed to assure humanity can permanently and profitably expand into that frontier.”

For a better understanding of Space and to join the economic and industrial development of space –

SpaceFund is now investing in new companies out of its second fund, the BlastOff fund. If your space startup would like to be considered for investment, please fill out the ‘Submit Your Company for Consideration’ form on the SpaceFund website

WTTC Announces Leadership Changes

WTTC Announces Leadership Changes

London, United Kingdom, May 12, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Gloria Guevara steps down as President & CEO and Julia Simpson to take over the helm. The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector, announces the departure of Gloria Guevara after four years leading the global tourism body.

The former Tourism Secretary of Mexico, Guevara, joined WTTC in August 2017, has led WTTC and its Members through a transformational agenda over the past years, including the sector’s significant impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. Guevara was the strong voice in leading the global Travel & Tourism sector through its the most difficult year in history and has helped unite the sector and define the path for the recovery.

Read all the latest WTTC News and Updates here.

WTTC is delighted to announce the appointment of International Airlines Group (IAG) Executive Committee Member, Julia Simpson, as its President & CEO, effective August 15th.

Simpson brings extensive experience of the Travel & Tourism sector, having served on the boards of British Airways, Iberia and most recently as Chief of Staff at International Airlines Group. She previously worked at senior levels in the UK Government including advisor for the UK Prime Minister.

Carnival Corporation President and CEO, Arnold Donald, who was recently appointed as Chair of WTTC, paid tribute to Gloria Guevara and welcomed Julia Simpson to her new role.

Arnold Donald said: “I would like to first thank Gloria for her dedication and commitment to WTTC, especially in these difficult times. Her contributions have been immeasurable, from helping to unite the sector as it manages and recovers from the pandemic, to providing a clear voice and direction for the safe restart of international travel. And I and the entire executive committee are grateful for Gloria’s continued help through this transition and her support to WTTC.

“I am delighted to welcome Julia Simpson, an exceptional leader with experience both in the private sector and in government, to help guide WTTC at this critical juncture of the Travel & Tourism sector. I look forward to working with Julia in my role as Chair, to continue building on WTTC’s many successful initiatives.”

Gloria Guevara said: “It is with a heavy heart that I leave WTTC. I am very proud to have led this diverse and talented team and to have worked with so many amazing industry leaders, who are WTTC’s Members, and built strong relationships with government heads of tourism around the world. 

“I leave WTTC after completing my mandate, in a stronger position as the voice of the private sector and the leader of the global agenda. I know that under Julia’s solid leadership, WTTC will continue to build on this legacy and lead it into its next chapter, championing the entire global Travel & Tourism sector to its recovery.”

Read all the latest WTTC News and Updates here.

Julia Simpson said “It will be a great privilege to lead WTTC as it emerges from the worst crisis in our history. Travel & Tourism plays a critical role to our economies across the globe, accounting for 330m jobs in 2019. In many communities it is the backbone of family run businesses that have been left devastated.

“The Travel & Tourism sector has shown real leadership in ‘reopening’ the world safely and securely; and I look forward to shaping and driving the sector’s ambitious agenda to achieve long-term sustainable and inclusive growth.”

BWH Hotel Group Signs New Villa Resort in Vietnam

BWH Hotel Group Signs New Villa Resort in Vietnam

𝗛𝗼𝗮 𝗧𝗶𝗲𝗻 𝗣𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗱𝗶𝘀𝗲, Vietnam, May 12, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / BWH Hotel Group has announced to open a brand-new villa resort in Vietnam. A virtual signing ceremony for this was recently hosted by the hotel group.

𝗕𝗪 𝗦𝗶𝗴𝗻𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝗖𝗼𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗯𝘆 𝗕𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗪𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗻 is a stunning 265-villa property in Ha Tinh province, north-central Vietnam. Located on the coast, just a short drive from the city of Vinh, and is scheduled to open in 2023. The stunning resort will become one of the first internationally-branded hotels in the geographical area and will truly be a value addition to region.
The event was attended by Erwann Mahe, managing director of International Operations – Asia, and Cyrill Czerwonka, senior regional director of Development – Asia, Best Western Hotels and Resorts.

Hoa Tien Paradise, BW Signature Collection by Best Western is scheduled to open in 2023. It will be a 265-villa property in Ha Tinh province, north-central Vietnam.

It is located on the coast and is at a short distance from the city of Vinh.

“The stunning resort will become one of the first internationally-branded hotels in the geographical area and will truly be a valuable addition to the region.”

IATA Supports the G20 Rome Guidelines for the Future of Tourism

IATA Supports the G20 Rome Guidelines for the Future of Tourism

Rome, Italy, May 12, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed the agreement by the G20 Tourism Ministers to support the safe restoration of mobility by following the G20 Rome Guidelines for the Future of Tourism. IATA urged G20 governments to quickly follow up their endorsement of the guidelines with actions, particularly the five-point agenda to safely restore mobility:

  1. Sharing information among industry and governments to inform policies and decisions to ensure safe mobility.
  2. Agreeing common international approaches to COVID-19 testing, vaccination, certification and information.
  3. Promoting digital traveler identity, biometrics and contactless transactions for safe and seamless travel.
  4. Providing accessible, consistent, clear and updated information to travelers to encourage and facilitate travel planning and journeys.
  5. Maintaining and improving the connectivity, safety and sustainability of transport systems.

“The G20 has the right focus and agenda to restart travel and tourism. The combination of vaccinations and testing are the drivers to make travel broadly and safely accessible. Moreover, Prime Minister Draghi’s promise that Italy is ready to welcome back the world and encouragement to book holidays should be an inspiration to other world leaders. It captures the urgency that is needed to move forward quickly and safely in restoring the freedom to travel,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

Risk Management

The emphasis on information sharing, working together to implement practical processes, and data driven policies is particularly welcome. These are the basis for managing the risks of COVID-19 as we move towards normality.

“The G20’s call for a combined effort of industry and governments to share information moves us towards the risk management framework that is needed for a restart. No industry knows better that safety is paramount than aviation. Effective risk -management—based on evidence, data and facts—underpins everything airlines do, and it is a core aviation competency that can help governments safely reopen borders. Over a year into the crisis, and with six months of experience with vaccines, data exists to support the targeted measures that the G20 is aiming for. Using data to guide restart plans should gain impetus from the G20 action plan,” said Walsh.

Aviation Getting Ready

The aviation industry is already making critical progress to be ready.

  • The IATA Travel Pass responds exactly to the need for reliable testing and vaccination certificates verified against the traveler’s itinerary. This will be particularly useful in furthering the recommendation for digital solutions. IATA Travel Pass will help prevent fraud and provide a framework for airlines to securely and efficiently manage COVID-19 travel credentials that governments could easily tap into. With aver a billion doses of the vaccine administered already and a growing number of countries welcoming vaccinated travelers, a system to globally recognize digital vaccine certificates is becoming even more critical.
  • The UNWTO/IATA Destination Tracker will give travelers the confidence to plan travel knowing the measures that are in place and requirements to travel.


The G20 agreements add important support to the building momentum to restore travel. Developments in recent weeks include the following:

  • A travel bubble opened between Australia and New Zealand
  • The European Commission and the European Parliament each announced efforts to welcome vaccinated travelers, and travelers from low-incidence countries to Europe
  • The UK is pursuing the gradual resumption of international travel from 17 May
  • Italy announced it was planning to implement the European ‘Green Certificate’ in May to facilitate opening borders, and
  • France is planning to reopen its borders to international tourists with a “health pass” from 9 June.

“While these are all important steps that build momentum towards re-opening the travel and tourism sector, we need more. People want to fly and exercise the freedom to travel that has been denied by government restrictions. But expensive testing requirements will make travel unaffordable for many, weakening the boost to economies that will occur when borders are reopened. That shouldn’t be allowed to happen.  Simple, efficient, and affordable programs will be needed to manage the testing and vaccine verification regimes that will underpin a safe restoration of the freedom of mobility,” said Walsh.

Full Text of the G20 Rome Guidelines for the Future of Tourism

Work with industry and international partners to provide and share information to inform policies and decisions on safe mobility.

A key requirement of safe mobility is the provision and sharing of timely, accurate and transparent information on the health and safety situation in source and recipient countries. In addition, tourism industry bodies and health experts should be consulted to establish evidence on the consequences of travel restrictions and on practicalities for delivering safe travel options.

Pursue opportunities to agree common international approaches to COVID-19 testing, vaccination, certification and information on travellers to enable lifting of inbound and outbound border restrictions.

Restrictions on international travel, including travel bans and quarantine requirements, have serious adverse consequences for international tourism and the wider economy. Targeted measures to prevent transmission of the virus by infected travellers should be promoted where these can be shown to be reliable. This could be achieved by appropriate authorities receiving the necessary and reliable information on a traveller, including testing and vaccination certificates and travel history, to make an individual biosecure risk assessment. This should require developing international standards on the necessary type, timing, frequency and facility of testing and vaccinations, and on the provision and checking of testing and vaccination certificates and travel history data, in compliance with national regulations. The implementation of such measures must take into account ethical issues of non-discrimination of travellers and guarantee the protection of data. There is also a need for clear and widespread communication strategies that are agreed and adhered to by all.

Explore ways to promote the use of digital traveller identity, biometrics and contactless transactions to facilitate safe and seamless travel.

The use of such procedures has become more widespread in recent years and should be accelerated in the interests of safe mobility. Requirements include the interoperability of technologies and systems and mutual recognition of them by appropriate authorities and other users, together with respect for data privacy based on agreed international standards and principles and in accordance with national laws and regulations.

Provide accessible, consistent, clear and updated information to travellers to encourage and facilitate travel planning and journeys.

Information provision is a critical tool in promoting traveller confidence and safe mobility. Clarity is key for the resumption of international travel. Information strategies should seek to promote:

  • Clarity on the health and safety situation in destinations and when returning to the origin country, including restrictions and requirements placed on travellers and access to health and emergency services.
  • Transparent and reliable information from operators on health and safety protocols in place, in line with international standards, and other arrangements affecting travellers including cancellation options, insurance coverage and repatriation.
  • Mobile applications providing real-time information to guide movements, including data on areas of crowding or other health and safety factors, while respecting personal privacy.
  • Processes for receiving feedback from travellers, to facilitate better future planning to meet their needs and information requirements.

Maintain and improve the connectivity, safety and sustainability of transport systems.

Transport providers have been seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the future of certain services is in doubt. Appropriate authorities should work together and with the transport sector on policies and actions to restore or maintain connectivity, while also addressing safe mobility and sustainability issues.

First ITB Berlin Declaration Sends Clear Message to Policymakers

First ITB Berlin Declaration Sends Clear Message to Policymakers

Berlin, Germany, May 12, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Global travel industry CEOs demand an expansion of vaccination and testing capacity to rapidly re-open safe travel in these times of the pandemic, and call for political support to improve sustainability, equitable opportunities and digital services.

Never before have political decisions impacted travel so seriously as during the coronavirus pandemic. With the ITB Berlin Travel and Tourism Declaration, the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show for the first time concisely summarises the concrete measures demanded by national and international travel industry leaders for an economic recovery. With it, the trade show sends a clear message from the industry and gives leaders from many areas of tourism an opportunity to have their say. Compiled in an online brochure and presented in a video, their reactions, demands and suggestions provide urgently needed orientation and ideas for political decision-makers to overcome the crisis and future challenges.

The coronavirus pandemic has all parts of the global travel industry firmly in its grip, from airlines, tour operators, the hotel industry and cruise lines to technology providers, OTAs and tourism associations. Correspondingly, the ITB Berlin Travel and Tourism Declaration reflects a cross section of the industry and impressively highlights its impact and relevance. As well as naming concrete measures for re-opening tourism in these times of the pandemic, leaders also call for improving sustainability, equitable opportunities and digital services.

Thus, Norbert Fiebig, president of the German Travel Association (DRV), demands the introduction of an internationally recognised digital vaccination certificate and a uniform testing procedure to enable safe travel again as soon as possible. Mark S. Hoplamazian, president and CEO of Hyatt, sees vaccinating, testing and contact tracing as key. For Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber, safety is paramount too. He calls for expanding Covid vaccinations as soon as possible. According to Gloria Guevara Manzo, president and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), in addition to an internationally recognised digital vaccination certificate, efficient international mobility protocols could help to restart international travel. Patrick Andrae, CEO of HomeToGo, calls for holiday apartments to re-open first, as they are among the safest type of accommodation.

Focus on sustainability

Without doubt, the pandemic marks a break for the entire industry. In order to be able to deal with future challenges Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, says better preparation is needed to confront future crises: “The future needs to look different.“ For Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta, protecting the environment plays a key role: “One of the most pressing issues we face collectively is sustainability.“ Accordingly, the aviation measures now being discussed should create incentives for investing in a sustainable future. Stephanie M. Jones, founder and CEO of National Blacks, part of the Travel & Tourism Collaborative, calls for greater diversity, inclusion and equitable opportunities in tourism, to help ensure their growth and sustainability in the industry. Olga Heuser, founder and CEO of Dialogshift, is convinced that policymakers need to take a different view of the industry: “In the long run, we should include tourism policy in economic policy in a way that reflects its share in overall economic performance and its importance for the labour market.“

What is clear from the statements of these industry leaders is that with comprehensive safety measures, testing capacity and rising vaccination numbers, the urgently needed recovery of the tourism industry can succeed. Now it is up to policymakers to offer the industry new prospects as soon as possible.

About ITB Berlin and the ITB Berlin Convention
ITB Berlin 2022 will take place from Wednesday, 9 to Sunday, 13 March. From Wednesday to Friday, ITB Berlin will be open to trade visitors only. ITB Berlin is the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show. Parallel with the show the ITB Berlin Convention, the largest event of its kind, will be held from Wednesday, 9 to Saturday, 12 March 2022. For exhibitors, trade visitors and the media, participation in the ITB Berlin Convention is included in the price of a ticket. During the five-day digital ITB Berlin NOW 2021, around 65,700 users visited the online platform, of whom around two-thirds came from abroad. 3,513 exhibitors from 120 countries made use of the new format to present their products and services. In 2019, around 10,000 exhibitors from 181 countries presented their products and services to some 160,000 visitors, including 113,500 trade visitors.