Travel and tourism sector pinning hopes on vaccine passports

 Friday, April 9, 2021 


With India witnessing a fresh increase in corona virus infections, the travel and tourism sector is resting its hopes on vaccine passports, which will assist countries in reopening borders to those who have received the vaccine. Vaccine passport is a digital document authenticating that people have been vaccinated or tested for the virus.

Vaccine passports will permit cross-border traveling with vaccine certificates or Covid-19 negative test reports from accredited laboratories at airports. It is identifiable via iris scan. “Vaccine passports will help the travel and tourism industry not only in India but internationally, too. Right now, there is no check at airports that test is actually done, or the covid-19 report is edited. A digital document will stem fraud too,” said the chief executive of an online travel company.

After a brief respite, the tourism sector in India is expecting a crisis again given the reappearance in Covid cases which has led to cancelations for air travel and hotel bookings with states initiating partial lockdowns.

“Vaccine passports will definitely go a long way to bring back business to the travel and tourism sector. This will surely prevent frauds with paperwork and standardized information. But we expect overall appetite for travel to revive to pre-Covid levels in the next two to three quarters, as more people are vaccinated, which will give people the confidence to travel,” said a senior airline official.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), with 290 airline members from 120 countries, is holding discussions with leading Indian airlines to sign them up for its digital health pass. Israel was the first country to bring in vaccine passports, and Singapore on Tuesday said that it will accept the IATA mobile travel pass for pre-departure checks.
Several leading global airlines like Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Etihad and Air New Zealand have signed up for IATA’s travel pass.

“Airlines have been taking the strictest measures to prevent the spread of the virus. As things stand, traveling on an aircraft is absolutely safe. But, the rising number of cases and travel restrictions are preventing people from traveling,” said the airline official.

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