WTTC, G-20 tourism officials to meet on pandemic policies

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Apple Leisure Group chairman Alex Zozaya, right, and CEO Alejandro Reynal discuss travel in the age of Covid-19 during a virtual press conference on Sept. 29.
Apple Leisure Group chairman Alex Zozaya, right, and CEO Alejandro Reynal discuss travel in the age of Covid-19 during a virtual press conference on Sept. 29.

The World Travel and Tourism Council will hold a meeting next week with tourism officials from the G-20 countries in hopes of developing uniform policies for eliminating border restrictions and quarantine rules to reopen global travel.

Apple Leisure Group (ALG) chairman Alex Zozaya, who is a vice chair of the WTTC, said during a virtual press conference Tuesday that the meeting will be led by the tourism minister of Saudi Arabia, who currently holds the presidency of the economic forum.

"What we are going to try to accomplish is to unify protocols, to make sure that within these 20 countries the protocols to travel from country to country would be accepted both ways," he said.

"If that happens, it's huge, because the whole world will follow. These G-20 countries represent 80% of global tourism. So even if it's not all 20, even if we get to like 15 or 16 of these countries that agree and support, that use the same protocols to travel within these countries, and we create this link, it will be huge."

Among the protocols to be discussed, he said, would be Covid-19 testing for inbound travelers, and eliminating quarantines for those who test negative.

Zozaya said progress is already being made behind the scenes with Europe, but he doesn't anticipate any official buy-in from the United States before the election.

Still, he said, that "even though the United States may take longer than other counties, I am very hopeful this will happen in November."

Even if the United States commits in principle, other countries will follow, Zozaya said.

Zozaya also said ALG is working closely with governments in Mexico and the Caribbean to reopen travel and is in almost daily contact with U.S authorities in travel, "and of course, they have a lot of pressure from every actor in travel both inbound and outbound."

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