COVID-19: IATA SEES PROGRESS IN OPENING THE WORLD TO TRAVEL
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) sees increasing momentum towards the reopening of borders and the relaxation of travel restrictions, as Covid-19 moves into the endemic phase.
“As population immunity grows, more governments are managing Covid-19 through surveillance, as they do for other endemic viruses. That is great news for a growing number of destinations that will receive a much-needed economic boost from the upcoming Easter and Northern Summer travel seasons,” said IATA Director General Willie Walsh.
Meanwhile, travel in Asia remains heavily compromised by Covid restrictions. While North American and European international traffic rebounded to -42 per cent of their 2019 peaks last year, traffic in the Asia Pacific remained at -88 per cent. Even in this region, however, there has been some progress, with India and Malaysia among the countries recently announcing the relaxation of restrictions.
“Asia is the outlier. Hopefully, recent relaxations including Australia, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Pakistan, and the Philippines are paving the way towards restoring the freedom to travel that is more broadly enjoyed in other parts of the world,” Walsh said.
The easing of measures reflects the growing consensus that travel restrictions such as border closures and quarantine do little to control the spread of Covid-19. A recent report by OXERA and Edge Health, looking at the spread of the Omicron variant in Europe, concluded that travel restrictions may only delay the peak of a wave by a few days.