The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has warned governments worldwide that more country-wide border bans will not be effective in preventing the spread of the Omicron variant.
WTTC is asking authorities to take a more nuanced approach and only implement localized measures where absolutely necessary.
With Omicron spreading across the globe, WTTC’s President Julia Simpson argues that a continuous vaccination rollout is more effective than adding countries to red lists.
“Closing borders will not prevent the spread of new variants… The way to keep safe is to focus on the vaccination status of individual travelers rather than placing whole countries onto red lists.”
“Rather than stigmatizing countries such as South Africa, which rely heavily on a strong Travel & Tourism, we should be applauding them for identifying this new variant so quickly.”
Focusing on greater vaccination distribution while implementing commonsense measures such as wearing masks would be more effective in the fight against the virus, according to the CEO.
The goal is to avoid imposing blanket restrictions in order to prevent slowing the already fragile tourism industry recovery.
Over the course of the last two weeks, the WTTC has voiced its dissatisfaction and agreement with the steps nations have taken in the aftermath of the discovery of the Omicron strain.
For instance, travelers will need to provide “compelling reasons” to visit the UK and return to France, regardless of vaccination status, announced the PM.
“This is an ineffective, knee-jerk reaction by the French government. Banning travel to France will not stop COVID variants that are already in France. As South African scientists said these decisions are based on hysteria, not logic.”
On the other hand, the WTTC expressed its support when two days ago the UK voted to remove Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe “from the nonsensical and harmful red list.”
This will help restart tourist travel which is crucial to kick-starting the economic recovery, they said.