Quarantining will ‘keep many unemployed’, warns IATA chief

The aviation authority has suggested alternatives to self-isolation

Alexandre de Juniac
Alexandre de Juniac

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged governments to avoid quarantine measures when re-opening their borders for tourism. IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac has said quarantining after travel is stunting recovery rates and leaving many unemployed.

He said: “Imposing quarantine measures on arriving travellers keeps countries in isolation and the travel and tourism sector in lockdown. Fortunately, there are policy alternatives that can reduce the risk of importing COVID-19 infections while still allowing for the resumption of travel and tourism that are vital to jumpstarting national economies. We are proposing a framework with layers of protection to keep sick people from travelling and to mitigate the risk of transmission should a traveller discover they were infected after arrival.”

IATA suggests governments should discourage symptomatic passengers from travelling – airlines can help sway people to do this by offering greater flexibility on bookings as to make rescheduling easier. Another alternative to quarantining is the deployment of non-intrusive health screenings at airports.

Did you like this story?
Click here for more

While temperature checking isn’t a definitive way to check for COVID-19, it acts as a deterrent to travelling while unwell. Additionally, IATA recently found that up to 80% of travellers feel safer when they are temperature checked.

If governments are welcoming tourists from ‘higher-risk’ nations, they should consider asking travellers to take a COVID-19 test prior to arrival or at the departure airport. IATA strongly recommends passengers and staff alike wearing personal protection equipment, with frequent sanitisation, health declarations and social distancing made standard also.

In the event where an infected person does travel, there should be a contact tracing system in place to quickly stem the spread of the virus.

“Safely restarting the economy is a priority. That includes travel and tourism. Quarantine measures may play a role in keeping people safe, but they will also keep many unemployed. The alternative is to reduce risks through a series of measures. Airlines are already offering flexibility so there is no incentive for sick or at-risk people to travel. Health declarations, screening and testing by governments will add extra layers of protection. And if someone travels while infected, we can reduce the risk of transmission with protocols to prevent the spread during travel or when at the destination. And effective contact tracing can isolate those most at risk without major disruptions,” said de Juniac.

Recent public opinion research revealed that 83% of travellers would not even consider travelling if quarantine measures were imposed on travellers at their destination.

For all the latest hospitality news from UAE, Gulf countries and around the world, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page.

Most Popular

Newsletter

Reports

Human Capital Report 2017

Human Capital Report 2017

The second annual Hotelier Middle East Human Capital Report is designed to explore the issues, challenges and opportunities facing hospitality professionals responsible for the hotel industry’s most important asset – its people. The report combines the results of Hotelier Middle East's HR Leaders Survey with exclusive interviews with the region's senior human resources directors.

Hotelier Middle East Housekeeping Report 2016

Hotelier Middle East Housekeeping Report 2016

The Hotelier Middle East Housekeeping Report 2016 provides essential business insight into this critical hotel function, revealing a gradual move towards the use of automated management and a commitment to sustainability, concerns over recruitment, retention and staff outsourcing, and the potential to deliver much more, if only the industry's "image problem" can be reversed.

From the edition

From the magazine