6 October 2020
In an open letter to G20 tourism ministers, ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO has said Covid-free travel can be achieved through a balance of right policy settings, technological tools and industry buy-in.
Addressing ministers ahead of their 7 October meeting as part of the Sherpa Track for the G20 Leaders Summit 2020, Mr Denton’s letter underscores the need to re-open international travel while credibly addressing fears of infection and resurgence.
Writing on behalf of 45 million companies worldwide Mr Denton said that while immediate measures such as closing borders and testing upon arrival had been successful in slowing the spread of the virus, there must now be a shift to a plan that balances the protection of people with the reopening of the economy.
Mr Denton writes: “Until a vaccine is developed and deployed, the simplest and safest path to a safe and open global economy is through the creation of a G20-wide system of pre-departure testing that would only allow travel for those who are not infectious.”
Such a testing system, Mr Denton said, would require three key elements: recognised standards for testing, accredited testing facilities and a standard platform for holding test results such as the ICC AOKpass – a “digital passport” app enabling trusted confirmation of an individual’s COVID-19 compliance status while maintaining the highest levels of user data privacy.
“Establishing a G20-wide pre-departure testing system along these lines would minimise the health risks associated with travel and allow for a safe reopening of international borders – with significant economic benefits that would flow to all G20 countries and the broader world economy.”
Mr Denton said that restoring international travel through global, effective and trusted testing systems and standards would have significant widespread short-, medium and long-term benefits from safeguarding the travel and tourism sectors to preparing to enabling a fuller return to international travel once vaccines are available.
Mr Denton concludes: “ICC stands ready to assist G20 countries help restore travel, preserve the tourism and other directly affected sectors, and build infrastructure to safely minimise the economic damage caused by Covid-19.”