WTTC calls for ‘air corridors’ between key global cities to restore business trave

The restoration of ‘air corridors’ between the world’s top financial centres are vital to reviving international business travel and help kickstart the global economic recovery, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). Global inbound business travel contributes more than US$272 (£215) billion a year.

WTTC, which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector, says it is crucial that international business travel resumes, following its near collapse due to the coronavirus pandemic.

WTTC is calling for the introduction of a pilot scheme, involving airport-based testing, followed by a second test just days later, for travel between the financial hubs of London and New York, with the aim of re-starting business travel.

An analysis of Public Health England’s data by WTTC suggests two tests in quick succession could be 80% effective in identifying passengers with COVID-19, and thus reduce the quarantine period from 14 to four to six days or no quarantine at all.

Each year, inbound international business travel accounts for more than US$272 (£215) billion. While leisure travel makes up the bulk of international Travel & Tourism spend (83.77%), (inbound) international business travel (at 16.23%) is relied upon heavily by many international airlines, which depend upon frequent flying business travellers, especially on highly competitive routes across the Atlantic, for their profits.

The restoration of international business travel across the Atlantic, could benefit the entire Travel & Tourism sector; from airlines and hotels to travel management companies and ground transport providers, reviving tens of thousands of jobs and a multitude of companies which depend upon business travel for their survival.

However, WTTC warns this will only happen if the government takes a targeted approach, ditching blunt country-wide quarantines which have a devastating economic impact.

Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO, said: “While the recent ‘island policy’ introduced by the UK government marks a step in the right direction with a more targeted approach, WTTC believes a laser-like focus is necessary to reopen key international business routes, which could provide a significant economic boost.

“Flights must be restored along ‘city corridors’ linking cities with similar low COVID-19 case numbers, such as between London and New York, Washington, Paris, Frankfurt, Dubai, Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Shanghai.