The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has appointed Association of Tourism Trade Organizations, India (ATTOI) as the nodal agency to promote and propagate trust with tourism businesses in the country, co-opting India into its standardised health and hygiene protocols for ‘safe, secure and seamless’ journeys and stays in the post-COVID world. ATTOI will ensure that the travel and tourism activities in India follow the norms under a ‘Safe Travels Stamp’ curated by London-headquartered WTTC, the global body for the sector.
The stamp, designed to usher in the new normal and build trust in travellers to travel again, will permit travellers to recognise those governments and companies that have adopted the WTTC protocols which give insights and toolkits for interaction. The safety rules envision a “seamless” travel, lending the tourist an “authentic and meaningful experience” besides supporting the livelihoods of millions so as to sustain economic growth. Hailing the protocols as a game-changer for India, ATTOI noted that the stamp would build confidence and create comfort in travellers globally. “It will get them to travel and holiday as in pre-COVID times,” said C S Vinod, President of the 2003-founded ATTOI which promotes tourism in various sectors and strengthens business relationships.
“By authorising ATTOI as the nodal agency for India, WTTC has shared with us a huge responsibility,” he added. “We wish to embark on this journey of building trust in this new world era to bring in the change.” Based in Thiruvananthapuram, ATTOI has been India’s first industry association to incorporate into its business charter a commitment to Responsible Travel and Sustainable Tourism. Set up in 1990, WTTC has emphasised the need for common global laws in travel and tourism when the sector is badly hit the world over. It is also developing action plans to optimise sector-wide recovery efforts. The non-profit council, alongside its members, various governments, health experts and other industry associations, is working together to achieve effective recovery protocols.
Launched in May-end and being introduced in phases, the WTTC protocols will pertain to at least eleven industries: hospitality, attractions, outdoor retail, aviation, airports, short-term rentals, cruise, tour operators, convention centres and MICE, car rental and insurance. The protocols, which take into account the current guidelines of the World Health Organisation and US federal agency CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), are “living documents” that are being updated regularly. In a statement, WTTC said standard protocols globally would bring order in ensuring authenticity and trust to bring back travel and tourism on its feet again. The protocols would also align the private sector behind common standards to ensure the safety of its workforce and travellers as the sector shifts to a new normal, it noted.