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Over half the world’s tourists travel by air, and aviation and tourism together deliver significant growth and development benefits which are deeply relied upon by many national economies.
This was one of the key messages delivered by ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu as she addressed the G20 high-level public-private event on Accelerating the Global Recovery of travel and tourism hosted by the G20 Presidency, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
A second key update provided concerned the ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART), and how its current phase II updating of its response and recover ‘Take-off’ guidelines would include new recommendations to help countries evaluate testing options as a means to alleviate quarantine traveler requirements.
“The economic downturns of COVID-19 have been very hard on the air transport industry, but they are also being felt by the hundreds of millions of workers, and businesses large and small, who rely on travel and tourism all over the world,” Dr. Liu emphasized. “This underscores the critical importance of dependable public support from G20 and other national governments to help maintain essential air services.”
The ICAO Secretary General also called for closer and more effective collaboration between national aviation and public health authorities, using ICAO standards and the well-defined recommendations of the ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Taskforce (CART).
“ICAO has set out guidelines to help countries establish public health corridors between specific destinations of international flights, and new guidelines have recently been established which assist in passenger tracing and related activities,” Dr. Liu added.
With respect to the ‘new normal’ of the pandemic, and to the years which follow it, Dr. Liu stressed that ICAO has been encouraged that the air transport sector now has solutions at hand to pre-screen airline passengers more extensively and conveniently than ever before, and for both, health and security risks.
She also drew attention to how aviation will re-emerge from the pandemic with a much greener global commercial fleet.
“Innovation and collaboration will continue to be essential to how successful we are in addressing these current challenges, and they will also be critical to how we build back more sustainably post pandemic in terms of aviation’s deeply integrated economic, environmental, and societal aspects,” she said.
In concluding, Dr. Liu appreciated the collaboration and solidarity already established between public and private stakeholders in addressing the impacts of the pandemic on aviation, travel, and tourism, but reminded her audience that “we can still do better, and there are hundreds of millions of people depending on us.”