Published on : Thursday, December 2, 2021
Following comprehensive analysis and research, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has launched a new groundbreaking report which provides clear recommendations to governments and identifies four key digital solutions to restore international mobility.
The inaugural report provides guidance and calls on governments to adopt a more internationally coordinated response to COVID-19 for the Travel & Tourism sector and implement digital solutions that will facilitate the resumption of safe and stress-free international travel.
Following World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, WTTC has identified four of the most widely used digital COVID vaccination certificates (EU Digital COVID Certificate, ICAO Visible Digital Seal, DIVOC, and SMART Health Cards), and urges governments to accept these major international standards as proof of COVID-19 status, whilst working towards a single global solution.
The report, ‘Digital Solutions for Reviving International Travel’, shows how international travellers, whether fully vaccinated or testing negative, would then have a globally recognised digital COVID certificate that would enable them to travel freely and safely anywhere in the world.
This critical report addresses the current global challenge posed by the existing patchwork of policies and processes, which are not only complex and unsustainable, but also further hinder the recovery of an already struggling sector.
To address this governments should create their own ‘Digital Travel Portal’, allowing travellers to electronically share their digital COVID vaccination or test certificates with their destination before they begin their journey.
After booking their trip, travellers would simply go to the online portal managed by the destination, where their digital COVID certificate would be uploaded, verifying the status online and in seconds, avoiding confusing processes and long queues.
Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “WTTC has been calling on governments to implement a globally coordinated response since the beginning of the pandemic. Today’s report offers the key to harmonise and safely reopen international travel.
“It is governments’ responsibility to ensure there is a safe, secure, simple and digital system in place to restore international mobility. WTTC is recommending a single global portal that recognises the main digital passes currently in use worldwide and acts as a one stop shop for travellers and governments.
“We can use the pandemic to leapfrog technologies and allow contactless travel with embedded data on vaccination and testing status”.
Along with WHO, this innovative report and recommendations also draws on guidance from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD) and commitments made by Governments at the G7 and G20 for solutions to revive safe international travel.
According to WTTC’s research, in 2020, when the pandemic brought international travel to an almost standstill, more than 62 million jobs were lost, and the sector’s contribution to the global GDP fell by a staggering US$ 4.5 trillion.
These losses have affected the many millions of livelihoods who rely on thriving Travel & Tourism, while also significantly impacting the global economy and development.