In a bid to make international travel safer, ministers from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have backed a new initiative to share knowledge in real-time, at the organisation’s annual meeting in Paris today.
A safe travel blueprint and a temporary international forum for knowledge sharing form part of the tabled proposal.
Allowing governments and stakeholders to exchange information in real-time on plans and approaches facilitating travel, the forum would act as a decision-making hub – but will be used by countries on a voluntary basis.
The travel industry has had a turbulent year, with international air passenger transport plummeting around 75 per cent in 2020 and international tourism collapsing by around 80 per cent.
Pre-pandemic tourism contributed 4.4 per cent of GDP, 6.9 per cent of employment, and 21.5 per cent of service exports, for the average country within the OECD.
However, countries like Greece, Iceland, Mexico, Portugal and Spain – key holiday destinations, suffered even more from the pandemic restrictions.
“The OECD is in a unique position to help countries coordinate international action in the context of reopening global travel,” said OECD secretary-general Angel Gurría at the ministerial meeting in Paris.
“This initiative will help reduce uncertainty and complexity and enable countries to prepare more effectively for a return to safe international travel and tourism.”
An international framework for travel policies, national and regional rules, that highlights inconsistencies are crucial to avoiding confusion and extra costs for travellers and transport and tourism companies.
The OECD Blueprint, initiated by Spain, suggests having a traffic-light system to classify risks and guidance on how vaccination should be certified for travel.