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How to make travel safe

Writing for Traveltalk, STEWART MOORE, CEO and Founder of EarthCheck, reveals how tourism can be revived in a post-COVID environment.

The impact of COVID-19 to international tourism has been nothing short of devastating. 


The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) reports that the total loss of export revenue between January and May 2020 is estimated to be at least $US320 billion, or three times the total loss suffered from the 2009 global financial crisis. 


The UNWTO Secretary-General is predicting a loss of at least US$1 trillion over the full year, with at least 120 million tourism jobs at risk. 



Globally, the Asia-Pacific region has fared the worst, with a 60 per cent drop in visitor arrivals between January and May. 


At home, Australia’s Tourism and Transport Forum estimates that the loss in tourism revenue to this country amounts to $2 billion per month nationally. 


Where to from here?

As borders begin to open to domestic travel and ‘bubbles’ are discussed across the South Pacific, how can destinations, venues and attractions position themselves to help build confidence and reassurance that they are now open for business?


The needs of the tourist have now shifted from values centred on being carefree and adventurous to a focus on safety, wellbeing and hygiene. 


After many months of lockdown, the appetite to escape to new environments is increasing, but travellers need reassurance they can visit destinations as safely as possible in a post COVID-19 environment.


Destinations can provide this peace of mind and reassurance with EarthCheck, a Brisbane-based company specialising in sustainable tourism and destination management. 


EarthCheck has developed a new program called EarthSafe, which was released across the world last month.



The EarthSafe program can be adopted by destinations and business operators providing destinations with a scientific framework to benchmark, certify and continuously improve their environmental, cultural, social and economic performance. 


Most importantly, EarthCheck will also help destinations to navigate their way forward in a post COVID-19 tourism and travel environment. 


EarthSafe has been developed to help operators and destinations across the world meet the new health, wellness and hygiene expectations now demanded in a COVID-19 recovery. 


Certification under EarthSafe is about embedding real, tangible assurance practices which can provide confidence and reassurance to visitors, operators and the local community. 


It is recognised that part of the transition to a post COVID-19 world is the need to create an environment which can help retain and sustain jobs and help build back business and consumer confidence under a recovery and regeneration age.


Hygiene, general visitor safety, cleanliness and sustainability can be expected to be front and centre in the psyche for all visitor markets as we move into a reset and recovery phase where travel restrictions and physical distancing are gradually relaxed.


Creating safe and comfortable spaces that align with traveller’s core values and communicating this proposition to the market will be key to the recovery of destinations, attractions and venues alike.


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Published: 29 November 2020

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