Travel Council suggests use of federal model and private collaboration for recovery

The US federal government should consider developing and rolling out a travel reopening model “compatible with” falling Covid-19 infection and death rates, the US Travel and Tourism Advisory Council recommended Thursday to the Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo.

The board, chaired by CWT CEO Kurt Ekert, is part of the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration and advises the secretary on travel-related matters. Thursday’s letter includes 10 recommendations for federal action “to support the recovery and growth of travel and tourism and restore international travel.”

Most are directly linked to the current Covid-19 pandemic and its devastating impact on travel to and within the United States. Among the recommendations, some of which would require legislation, include reducing the number of physical points of contact “along the travel continuum” and expanding the availability of federal loans to travel providers.

The council also suggested that the government “may also want to carefully consider the impacts of additional restrictive measures on travel, such as domestic travel bans and testing and vaccination requirements.”

As an alternative, the board suggested using a template to guide the reopening. “The approach used to manage the pandemic has not optimally applied performance-based standards, lacks predictive metrics, and does not respond in a timely manner to all relevant data, which has led decision-makers to s ‘lean on unproductive (or unnecessary) measures such as lockdowns and quarantines “according to the advice. Such a model” could include better data collection, expanded use of new or emerging technologies and results-oriented standards to guide policy development “.

The UK announced on February 22 that international travel would resume no earlier than May 17, after order an exam on April 12 of the necessary measures to do so. Roger Dow, CEO of the US Travel Association this week suggested the US government takes a similar approach.

The council also suggested that the Commerce Department work with the private sector, especially airlines, to help collect health data related to inbound passengers, develop policy and deploy emerging technologies.

“Engaging with the private sector on the deployment of technologies such as digital passes, which could provide widely accepted test and vaccine certifications, can help quickly and substantially advance progress on these issues,” he said. writes the board. “While standardization and interoperability pose some challenges, the private sector is uniquely positioned to innovate and help solve these types of problems.”

The council also recommended the creation of an agency within the Commerce Department to help streamline inter-agency communication of travel alerts and advisories.

The board formed sub-committees to develop the recommendations, the letter said, and each “engaged with government agencies, professional associations and other private sector actors to inform their work.”

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