Vaccine passport can boost global travel and MICE industry

 Thursday, May 27, 2021 


The travel and tourism industry was one of the worst-affected by the restrictions imposed by governments across the world on the movement of people across the world to control the spread of the COVID-19. More than a year have passed since WHO declared COVID-19 pandemic, but normalcy seems to even farther as the virus continues to wreak havoc.

It is according the latest Economic Impact Report of the World Travel and Tourism Council, the loses suffered by the travel and tourism sector in 2020 are expected to reach $4.7 trillion. In 2020, 62 million jobs were lost to the pandemic.

The 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, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Forming an internationally recognized system as a global standard for all destinations would help ensure a traveler’s journey is as smooth and easy as possible – an essential factor to help heal international travel demand. With various certificates and passes being trialed, if all are launched, this will only create further confusion among travelers – 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.

Keen to avoid losing another summer of holiday revenue to the coronavirus pandemic, United States, the European Union, some Asian governments like Thailand and the airline industry are scrambling to develop a central international system that would help electronically verify vaccination status and COVID-19 test results.

The COVID-19 vaccine passports, they say, can help kickstart most of the international travel. Thus it will help to recover from the business (airline, tourism, business events, meetings and hospitality industry) losses.

Boosting Summer Tourism

As Europe’s summer holiday season approaches, some top class European destinations such as Greece and Spain are pushing the European Union to introduce digital “vaccine passports” to ease entry for visitors — and their tourism cash. They’re working on systems that would allow travellers to use mobile phone apps to prove they’ve been vaccinated, which could help them avoid onerous quarantine requirements at their destinations.

Immunity Records

The first part of a vaccination passport is the user’s official or approved electronic immunisation record.The European Union, China and Japan are all working on their own digital vaccination certificates for cross-border travel. The United Kindom, meanwhile, updated its National Health Service app last week to let fully vaccinated users prove their status when traveling abroad, coinciding with an easing of travel rules.

User friendly applications

The digitising vaccine certificates or COVID testing results alone won’t be sufficient. Here the travellers will also need a smartphone app that can import those certificates, and store them securely and share them with the concerned government authorities as and when required.

Security Concern

The vaccination passports are a polarising topic, with online discussion highlighting unfounded fears that they’ll be used to control people, restrict freedom and erode privacy.Here the securitydevelopers stress that minimal personal data is kept on phones, and the only thing that gets transmitted are encryption keys allowing information to be exchanged securely.

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