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US Travel Association Sets Guidelines for Travel’s New Normal

The association offers detailed guidance on how the industry can get back on the road in a “layered approach” to recovery

The US Travel Association has created a document on “guidance and consistency” for the travel industry in “the new normal” in a response to restrictions and lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic.

After consulting with “medical experts and a broad array of businesses and organizations” the association has submitted a detailed guidance for travel-related businesses to help keep their customers and employees safe while travel restrictions ease throughout the United States.

The guidelines fall into six categories:

•Travel businesses should adapt operations, modify employee practices and/or redesign public spaces to help protect employees and customers.

•Travel businesses should consider implementing touchless solutions, where practical, to limit the opportunity for virus transmission while also enabling a positive travel experience.

•Travel businesses should adopt and implement enhanced sanitation procedures specifically designed to combat the transmission of COVID-19.

•Travel businesses should promote health screening measures for employees and isolate workers with possible COVID-19 symptoms, and provide health resources to customers.

•Travel businesses should establish a set of procedures aligned with CDC guidance should an employee test positive for COVID-19.

On a press phone call, Roger Dow, U.S. Travel Association’s president and CEO, highlighted the fact that the guidance would provide “consistency” across travel businesses by providing a “layered approach” to the travel industry’s recovery as restrictions are shifted or eased and as the US moves into the summer months, traditionally the highest season for leisure travel.

Dow said the new guidance was continuing to stress that the “elderly, those with diabetes or immune-deficiency issues” should not be considering nonessential travel at this time.

Dow said that leisure travel would be the first component of the travel industry, followed by business travel and then by meetings and conventions.

However, in an interview with Business Traveler USA, Mahmoud Elikeiy, general manager of the Four Seasons Cairo at the First Residence said he and his colleagues felt that after the pandemic eased, the meetings and convention industry would continue to be diminished “by about 30 percent” on an ongoing basis due to the recent uptick in Zoom or other phone meetings and work at home solutions.