APTRA calls for alignment on government responses to COVID-19
The Asia Pacific Travel Retail Association (APTRA) has launched a campaign to over 45 individual governments across the region with a proposal for regional alignment on quarantine rules and testing on arrival and departure at airports, in a move that would safeguard public health and promote industry recovery.
Reflecting the views of many of its member organisations and industry executives in duty free and travel retail, APTRA believes one of the biggest obstacles to industry recovery from the pandemic crisis is the fragmented inconsistency in rules related to quarantine and COVID-19 testing at airports.
APTRA president, Sunil Tuli, warns: “Alignment on quarantine and testing imperatives is a critical factor in facilitating the recovery of the travel retail industry.
“Aviation, tourism and hospitality are highly inter-dependent sectors with millions of livelihoods stuck in jeopardy until governments prioritise a regionally aligned strategy on quarantine and COVID-19 testing for travellers.
“Of course APTRA supports the prioritisation of national health and safety, yet it is frustrating that there is no joined-up approach between governments that would enable the re-opening of aviation to safeguard millions of jobs.”
APTRA believes there are efficient and robust rapid tests for COVID-19 that could be implemented at international borders, enabling a more reasonable approach to reduced quarantine timescales of perhaps 24 hours in the case of a negative result.
The Italian government is already operating tests on arrival and is now trialling them on departure at Rome Fiumicino.
According to APTRA, Singapore Changi, Delhi, Hong Kong and Incheon are among several airports in Asia-Pacific running efficient testing.
It states: “If governments were to endorse a harmonised approach to airport testing and quarantine, it would be a major step towards re-opening the aviation ecosystem and one that would restore consumer confidence.”
APTRA believes that the Asia-Pacific market is integral to the global travel economy, and industry players across the travel and tourism sectors are rallying to ensure industry survival.
It notes that duty free and travel retail in Asia-Pacific creates over 320,000 jobs and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) estimates 63.4 million jobs in tourism are currently at risk across the region.