CHINA (HONG KONG). In a major travel sector development, industry leaders have united to support the Go Give One* campaign to help fund COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.

Virgin Atlantic has joined travel services specialist Collinson and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) as part of the newly created Global Travel Sector Vaccine Coalition. Together, they will use their collective reach to play a part in ensuring everyone, no matter where they are in the world, has access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

The travel industry has been particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the emergence of the new Omicron variant and renewed travel bans, it is urgent to address low vaccination rates in middle and low-income countries, the three parties noted in a press release.

Click here to discover more about the Global Travel Sector Vaccine Coalition

WHO Foundation Chief Executive Officer Anil Soni said: “Vaccine inequity is morally unjust and economically and epidemiologically self-defeating. We need everyone to help protect the world.

“We are thrilled to see this leadership from industry heavyweights to get vaccines to people who need them most. The Global Travel Sector Vaccine Coalition is a great example of how companies can join forces to make a global difference. We invite other members of the travel industry to join us to power vaccines around the world. Together, we can all play our part to ensure vaccines for everyone, everywhere.”

The Collinson COVID-19 Testing Initiative first launched in October 2020 and is now at several major UK airports. Learning from that experience, WHO Foundation and Collinson formed the Travel Coalition in recognition of how the industry can make a real difference.

Collinson Joint CEO David Evans said: “We are delighted to be supporting the WHO Foundation’s Go Give One campaign. The travel and tourism industry knows only too well how important it is for everyone, everywhere to have access to vaccines if we are to end the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve seen first-hand how our industry has had to adapt to ensure the safety of people and organisations in this new reality and are calling on the sector now to join us as part of the Travel Coalition.

Moodie Davitt Comment

Along with several other travel sector stakeholders The Moodie Davitt Report attended an initial briefing on the Global Travel Sector Vaccine Coalition at Collinson’s regional headquarters in Hong Kong last month. We were impressed by both the diversity and the commitment of the representatives present (online and physically).

The travel ecosystem embraces an eclectic array of companies, from infrastructure and transport providers (airports, airlines, cruise and ferry companies, train operators, car hire companies and more) to service providers (retailers, F&B operators, foreign exchange firms, financial service companies and others), hotels, product suppliers and many more.

All find themselves hit hard – arguably harder than any other single business sector – by the pandemic’s impact on international and domestic travel. As the Omicron situation has underlined, new COVID-19 variants will continue to emerge – particularly in emergent countries – while large swathes of the world’s population remain shamefully unvaccinated.

At present, 69% of all distributed vaccines around the world are concentrated in just ten countries. Although some countries are now administering third booster jabs, many people around the world have yet to receive their first shot due to the disparity in access to vaccines.

The travel retail community enjoys a high-profile position on the international stage. As a long-time beneficiary of international travel and now a victim of its stricken state, the sector has the dual opportunity with the Global Travel Sector Vaccine Coalition and Go Give One to help societies in need while boosting its own long-term recovery prospects.

The Moodie Davitt Report has joined the Global Travel Sector Vaccine Coalition and will be committing financially to Go Give One as well as joining with other sector stakeholders in joint initiatives. More details very soon.

*How can travel retail contribute to addressing vaccine inequity? Have your say via the DISQUS platform below or email headed Vaccine Inequity. For the best suggestion we will donate US$300 to Go Give One.

“There’s a true power in numbers to getting this done, and we’re urging our customers to give what they can, as well as asking other travel companies to join forces with us. It’s time to stamp out vaccine inequality, so support however you can, especially during this time of year – the season for giving back.”

Virgin Atlantic is supporting the Go Give One campaign through onboard donations this December and with an additional donation from the Virgin Atlantic Foundation.

Virgin Atlantic Chief Customer and Operating Officer Corneel Koster commented: “It’s evident that COVID-19 is something we must learn to live with. We know that en masse vaccine programmes work, thanks to the success we’ve seen in developed nations around the world, but unless we support lower-income countries in accessing these vaccines, we will not beat this global threat.

“By supporting the WHO Foundation in raising funds for the Go Give One campaign through our onboard donations this month, our teams and customers can play a part in helping to close the gap. The WHO Foundation and Virgin Atlantic are grateful for every contribution.

“It costs just £4 (US$5) to buy a vaccine, meaning even the smallest donations can go a long way. Successful vaccination programmes are the route out of the pandemic and we must all play our part in combating this virus; together we can do our bit to offer vaccines to the world and beat COVID-19.”

Members of the travel industry can join the Global Travel Sector Vaccine Coalition to power vaccines by making corporate contributions, running match giving schemes, and engaging their customers, employees, and clients in the Go Give One campaign.

PATA Chief Executive Officer Liz Ortiguera said on tackling vaccine equity as a Travel Coalition member, “We at PATA are calling on our travel sector colleagues to support vaccine equity because no-one is safe until everyone is safe. As of the beginning of December 2021, only a little over 8% of people in low income countries have received a first vaccine dose.

“Individuals, organsations and governments need to rally to accelerate the recovery. The travel sector has played a critical role in responding to the crisis already – from serving as quarantine hotels to providing staff for field hospitals. We can continue to help enable the solution to this crisis by supporting the vaccine efforts of the WHO Foundation for COVAX AMC.”

*About Go Give One

Go Give One is a COVID-19 fundraising campaign with no borders. Created by the World Health Organization’s WHO Foundation, the campaign calls on everyone, everywhere to play their part in helping to vaccinate the world. Every $5/£4 donated funds a vaccine through the Gavi COVAX AMC, which buys COVID-19 vaccines for low- and middle-income countries in order to help protect the most vulnerable and at-risk groups.

Click on the image to learn more about Go Give 1

Alongside the Global Travel Sector Vaccine Coalition, Go Give One harnesses the power of companies to engage their employees, customers, partners, and networks to offer the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to vaccine equity.

Partners of the Go Give One campaign are making corporate or match donations, donating a portion of sales from a product line, engaging their employees or clients in campaigns, offering peer-to-peer challenges, using their network to scale vaccine equity around the world.

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