Leaders from the industry in both the public and private sector participated, covering 95 countries, and more than 100 travel and tourism companies. The event was organised as a result of WTTC's call for the leaders of G7+Spain, South Korea and Australia for an agreement to save the sector and the millions of jobs that depend on it.
As a result of the discussions, the ‘La Palma Declaration’ has been signed by all key parties. The declaration includes key recommendations, like the adoption of international protocols for Covid-19 tests before departure, and acceptance of results upon arrival at the destination. This testing regime has proven successful in a number of countries, such as Spain and the Canary Islands.
The establishment of health control measures such as this will allow shorter quarantine periods when returning to the country of origin, or could lead to eliminating quarantines completely.
Establishing international agreements
The ‘La Palma Declaration’ also proposes to establish international agreements to implement international travel corridors to facilitate the return of both leisure and business travel between countries or cities with similar epidemiological situations.
Travel and tourism companies were also invited to propose further measures to adapt and facilitate travel in the context of the pandemic. These options included offering flexible bookings, payment terms, or changes, due to positive Covid-19 diagnoses, or offering affordable or higher-value products to incentivise domestic and international travel.
Adjusting business models to the pandemic
The ‘La Palma Declaration’ urges all parties to adjust their business models to the new global situation, and work together to develop new products that drive domestic and international travel and tourism, as well as implementing training programmes to improve and train tourism workers, empowering them with the digital skills needed to adapt to the ‘new normal’.
Lastly, a more inclusive and resilient industry will be promoted by strengthening sustainability practices in tourism.
Some regions have already implemented similar measures. The local government of the Spanish Canary Islands is preparing to accept cheaper and quicker antigen tests as proof of travellers’ negative Covid status, boosting the islands’ attractiveness as a holiday destination.