New International Air Transport Association (IATA) Director General Willie Walsh this week called on governments to start “thinking and planning for the removal of restrictions” on travellers as authorities begin to gain more control over the COVID crisis.
In his first media briefing in the role, Walsh outlined his priorities for IATA, with a focus on aiding the travel industry’s recovery from the pandemic. These included a desire to “see the industry getting back up to full speed in a safe and coordinated way”, and the implementation of the IATA Travel Pass to give people “a digitised option to travel”.
In other travel news, New Zealand and Australia have agreed to allow residents to travel between the two countries without the need to quarantine from 19th April. However, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also announced a temporary two-week suspension for travellers entering from India following a rise in coronavirus cases across South Asia.
There were further travel industry developments in Singapore, where Changi Airport unveiled its new Safe Travel Concierge service to help passengers better prepare for upcoming trips. The service allows travellers to book on-arrival COVID tests and complete pre-travel requirements through a single online site.
Meanwhile, the UK government’s Global Travel Taskforce (GTT) has revealed its framework to safely reopen international travel. The recommendations include a traffic light system that categorises countries as green, amber or red destinations – based on factors such as the rate of COVID infections and percentage of the population vaccinated – alongside restrictions required for travel. The GTT report added that the framework could make it possible for international travel to resume in the UK from 17th May 2021 at the earliest.
And finally, Switzerland Tourism has found “the perfect match” for its next brand ambassador – tennis superstar Roger Federer. The 20-time Grand Slam champion will star in a series of videos and visual ads promoting his home country to tourists across Europe, the US and Asia Pacific, as well as revealing his favourite places to visit on the MySwitzerland website.