The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic triggered an unprecedented collapse of the travel and tourism industry and the recovery is now expected to be slower than first thought.

Reviving the sector requires collaboration and coordination across the entire travel and tourism ecosystem.

Globally, the COVID-19 pandemic has generated extraordinary losses around the world—with millions of lives claimed, millions of people unemployed, and hundreds of millions more at risk of unemployment and soaring poverty.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  •  To ensure safe resumption of travel and tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic, harmonized health and safety guidelines should be observed in all points of transit.
  •  The threat of COVID-19 transmission during travel can be mitigated through a set of harmonized industry-wide health and safety protocols.
  •  Wearing face masks, proper handwashing, social distancing, and observing other similar health and safety protocols are highly recommended to stem COVID-19 transmission during travel.

 According to ADB’s Asian Development Outlook 2020 report, tourism-driven economies—including the Cook Islands, Fiji, Palau, Samoa, and Vanuatu—were the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Asia and Pacific region, alone, was expected to lose almost 70 million jobs and $1.1 trillion in GDP—more than any other region in the world.

“These policy recommendations are the result of widespread consultation with airport, airline, hotel, and government leaders. They provide a roadmap for how countries across the Asia and Pacific region can reopen this critical sector in the most careful, responsible, and effective way possible.”

Patrick Osewe Chief of ADB’s Health Sector Group

But the rising rates of vaccinations are seeing many countries slowly rebooting their international and domestic travel sectors. Precautionary measures against contracting COVID-19 have been put in place to ensure passenger health and safety as the transport industry deals with travel and tourism challenges in this “new normal.”  

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has released a set of health-focused policy recommendations Reopening Borders to Revive the Economy and Resume Travel in Asia and the Pacific to help members in our region make the best policy decisions for their circumstances. 

The recommendations came from months of extensive collaboration with key partners, including the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Air Transport Association, the Pacific Asia Travel Association, and other stakeholders and industry leaders.

“These policy recommendations are the result of widespread consultation with airport, airline, hotel, and government leaders,” said ADB’s Health Sector Group Chief Dr. Patrick Osewe. “They provide a roadmap for how countries across the Asia and Pacific region can reopen this critical sector in the most careful, responsible, and effective way possible.”

The recommendations have been grouped into four categories: (1) strengthening management and planning; (2) introducing transmission barriers; (3) improving sanitation; and (4) promoting health screening. A three-phase approach to each category also serves as a checklist for advised actions in every perceived phase of COVID-19.

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