UNWTO, IATA launch Destination Tracker to drive tourism recovery

By Ashika Rajan, Trainee Reporter
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The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have launched a Destination Tracker in anticipation of the restart of international travel.

It’s the result of both organizations working together to boost confidence and speed up the tourism sector’s recovery once borders are reopened. The UNWTO-IATA Destination Tracker is a new free online tool that allows governments to provide information on COVID-19 travel conditions and destination initiatives.

The tool will include information on COVID-19 Indicators, such as infection rates, positivity rates, and vaccine rollout by destination or country, and will be accessible through both organizations’ websites.

IATA’s Timatic solution provides air travel regulations, including test and quarantine criteria. National tourism organizations provide destination measures, such as general health and safety requirements such as mask use, transit through a region, curfew, or regulations related to restaurants and attractions.

The Destination Tracker will meet a critical need by clarifying COVID-19 steps that impact tourism. The situation for travelers is complicated, with UNWTO data indicating that one in three tourist destinations remains closed. Furthermore, controls and in-country steps are modified.

Governments can use the Destination Tracker to publish COVID-19 travel information so that future visitors know what to expect at their destination. When the database is filled with updated destination information, travel stakeholders such as Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) and travel agencies will be able to access the most up-to-date destination information, allowing travelers to make informed choices once borders reopen and travel resumes.

The Tracker framework has now reached the end of its development cycle. COVID-19 indicators and air travel regulations are kept up to date and revised regularly. As the COVID-19 situation evolves, destination information is gradually uploaded, extended, and updated with official sources.

UNWTO Secretary-General Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili remarked that “UNWTO is pleased to reinforce its partnership with IATA, a UNWTO Affiliate Member, to provide this important tool. Travelers and companies will be able to check requirements in place for air travel, as well as what measures will be in place at the visited destination. We trust this tool is also critical for governments to track existing travel restrictions and support the safe restart of our sector.”

The UNWTO-IATA Destination Tracker builds on the existing partnership between the two parties. UNWTO and IATA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2020 to collaborate on restoring confidence in international air travel.

The agreement will also see the two agencies partner to foster innovation to drive the restart of tourism, facilitate greater public-private cooperation in the aviation and tourism sectors in general, and build on previous progress toward greater sustainability and resilience.

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