New global safety rules for travel sector


The new Safe Travels protocols provide consistency to destinations and countries as well as guidance to travel providers, operators, and travellers.

Based on the best available medical evidence and following guidelines from the World Health Organisation (WHO), they avoid the emergence of multiple standards, which would delay the sector’s recovery.

The new Safe Travels protocols use feedback from industry associations including Airports Council International (ACI), Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), to bring confidence back and set clear expectations for travellers.

These will apply to hospitality, aviation, airports, cruise operators, retail, transport, and tour operators.

WTTC has divided the new guidance into five pillars including restarting operations; ensuring the traveller experience is safe and secure; rebuilding trust and confidence; innovation; and implementing enabling policies.

The first measures launched are for hotels and retail.

Hotels/hospitality measures include:

  • Revisit guidance for cleaning teams for all areas of the hotel with a specific focus on high-frequency touch points, such as room key cards.
  • Ensure social distancing for guests through signage and guidelines including lifts.
  • Retrain staff in infection control, social distancing and enhanced hygiene measures, including hand washing and the use of masks and gloves.
  • All extraneous items should be removed throughout the hotel. 
  • Integrate technologies to enable automation, such as introducing contactless payments where possible.
  • Offer room service using no-contact delivery methods.
  • Have clear, consistent and enhanced communication with customers on new health and hygiene safety protocols, both digitally and physically at hotels.
  • Safe reopening of food and drink outlets plus meeting spaces with specific actions to ensure social distancing, disinfection and food safety

Retail measures include:

  • Deep cleaning regimes.
  • Staff should be fully familiar and trained in the new policies, including social distancing, the use of thermal scanning and the wearing of face masks.
  • Social distancing should be observed in stores through special visual markers.
  • Minimise touch points by introducing digital maps, digital queue management, e-menus, virtual personal shopping and roving concierges.
  • Promote contactless payments and email receipts wherever possible by providing complimentary WIFI to encourage take up.
  • Hand sanitisers at shop entrances and exits, as well as at intervals inside premises and in bathrooms.
  • In cafes, restaurants and other food outlets, all menus to be available digitally.
  • Special attention placed to seating and queue management in line with social distancing requirements.
  • Capacity limits should be introduced in retail car parks to prevent overcrowding.

Additional and separate measures for the aviation and cruise sectors are still in development and will be announced soon.



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