The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has called upon all travellers to don protective face masks to show they "wear to care" in the new normal of travelling.
As countries transition from lockdowns to reopening their borders, the act of wearing face masks helps signal the return of safer travels, said the WTTC in a press release on Friday.
The advice from the WTTC in favour of mandatory mask-wearing comes from evidence that countries which are recovering faster and avoiding second wave of Covid-19 spikes are those where the use of face masks have been widely enforced and encouraged.
Following medical guidance from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, the WTTC advised travellers to wear masks on all forms of transport throughout the entire journey, as well as when visiting any interior venue or those with restricted movement which results in close personal contact within two metres.
The WTTC has asked governments around the globe to enforce the wearing of face masks, as well as enlisting the support of the private sector to remind customers of their obligations to protect their health and that of fellow travellers.
The WTTC also encouraged travellers around the world to join in social media campaign which is launching with the hashtag #wear2care.
"Embracing the use of face masks will reduce the risk of virus transmission, protect the users and people around them, as well as reintroduce a sense of normality as we learn to live with the virus until a vaccine is found," reads the press release.
Recently, the WTTC also issued its new guidelines for safe and seamless travel including testing and tracing to ensure that people can enjoy safe travels in the new normal.
WTTC President and CEO Gloria Guevara said, "The safety and hygiene of travellers and those who work in travel and tourism is of paramount importance, which is why we now strongly recommend masks being mandatory."
She further said, "'Wear to care' promotes the protection of face mask users and visibly shows they care about the welfare and safety of their fellow travellers – which will help save lives and encourage the return of safe travels."
Gloria also commented that wearing masks should not be politicised.
Ramon Sánchez, principal investigator and research associate at Harvard University, TH Chan School of Public Health, said, "Wearing face masks has been proven to provide the highest level of protection against transmission at 82 percent."
Constant hand hygiene and surface cleaning, which kills more than 90% of viruses that are found on surfaces, also prevents the virus from reaching the face from the hands.
Ramon further said, "The public should keep a two metre distance whenever they can, however if that simply is not possible, people should increase the ventilation around them."
Inside buildings this can be done by opening doors and windows which decreases the viral concentration by more than 70 percent.
Mechanical ventilation, such as air conditioning decreases it by 80 percent, while going outdoors proves more effective by decreasing the viral concentration between 90 and 95 percent.
The WTTC has led a series of initiatives designed to rebuild global consumer confidence and encourage the return of safe travels.
Safe Travels Protocols were developed for the global travel and tourism sector which focused on measures to drive business to: car hire companies, airports, tour operators, attractions, and short short-term rentals among many other travel sectors, to enable them to follow strict health and hygiene regimes when re-opening their businesses.
In addition to being backed by the United Nations World Tourism Organization, the protocols were also widely embraced by thousands of businesses around the world.