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Unified ‘Vaccine passports’ | Essential for tourism recovery

LONDON: Trials for vaccine passports are rolling out to ensure the flow of safe travel between international destinations but there remains a lack of collaboration which will only further delay international travel’s recovery, said GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Forming an internationally recognized system as a global standard for all destinations would help ensure a traveller’s journey is as smooth and easy as possible – an essential factor to help heal international travel demand.

With various certificates and passes being trailed, if all are launched, this will only create further confusion among travellers – the last thing that is needed. A form of digital vaccine passport should be looked at as more of an opportunity rather than a competition.

Johanna Bonhill-Smith, Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, said: “Quarantine requirements and travel restrictions are the two main deterrents to international travel according to GlobalData’s survey. Travellers are likely to be just as confused about what is required of them to travel and the actual protocols of how they should act when they arrive at a destination.

“One simple app that can inform all travellers of the specific entry requirements for a destination, alongside if their current vaccination/test results match, will help diminish confusion and ensure a more seamless and worry-free travel experience.”

The CommonPass is currently being trailed, which is an initiative of the Commons Project in partnership with the World Economic Forum. IATA has also launched the Travel Pass which uses global passport standards and its in-house system to verify that air passengers meet visa and health requirements.

Bonhill-Smith added: “This is ultimately an opportunity for the sector to display a united front in its recovery. Covid-19 is the largest challenge ever faced by the global tourism sector and airlines have been particularly hard hit. International organizations and governments should work together to ensure a smooth relaunch of international tourism activity as soon as possible.

“Throughout 2020, leading tourism bodies worldwide were urging governments, organizations, airlines, hotels and travel agents all across the sector to unite, collaborate and remain resilient to ensure the safe recovery of international travel.”

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