Fully vaccinated travellers should be able to move around freely, says WTTC chief

Travel associations and agencies are of the opinion that travel bans are illogical.

With countries imposing restrictions and banning travel, tourism has come to a standstill.

On Monday, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director, World Health Organization, advised people to cancel their holiday plans as the new Omicron variant has driven a spike in Covid-19 cases.

“It is better to cancel now and celebrate later, than to celebrate now and grieve later,” he said during a press conference at the WHO headquarters in Geneva on Monday.

“All of us are sick of this pandemic. All of us want to spend time with family and friends. All of us want to get back to normal. The fastest way to do that is to make the difficult decisions to protect ourselves and others,” he said.

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Rather than placing countries on red lists, governments must focus on the vaccination status of the individual traveller, says WTTC.

Travel associations and agencies, however, are of the opinion that travel bans are not the solution to end the pandemic.

Earlier this week, Julia Simpson, President & CEO, World Travel & Tourism Council, released a press statement. “Omicron is already well established throughout Europe. This is an act of political one-upmanship decided by people whose livelihoods do not depend on Travel & Tourism,” she stated.

“Putting travel bans in place is illogical. Fully vaccinated travellers should be able to move around freely,” she added.

Simpson also criticized the French government’s recent decision to ban travel. She called the move “an ineffective, knee-jerk reaction” by the French government. “Banning travel to France will not stop COVID variants that are already in France,” she said.

She added that rather than placing countries on red lists, governments across the world must focus on the vaccination status of the individual traveller.

“Until we fully understand this new variant, we must focus on prioritising the world distribution of vaccines while adopting sensible measures such as wearing masks,” she added.