The vaccine passport must become the necessary travel document to resume international tourism.
The recommendation comes from the Global Tourism Crisis Committee, which met in Madrid this week to discuss measures to ensure the safe restoration of international travel. It called for the coordination of a standardized digital certification system for international health and travel bodies, as well as creating a harmonized testing protocol.
The meeting, organized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), took place against the backdrop of growing coronavirus cases and new strains of the virus prompted the UK to close all travel corridors, preventing all arrivals in the UK and requiring a total ban in the South. On arrival from the US and Portugal.
UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili said: “The vaccine’s rollout is a step in the right direction, but the iteration of tourism cannot wait. Vaccines should be part of a broader, coordinated approach that includes certificates and passes for safe cross-border travel Are included. “
Specialist of travel medicine at London’s Fleet Street Clinic, Dr. Richard Dawood said that the evidence of vaccination to travel is unavoidable. “It won’t really be our choice – [vaccine passports] There will be a real need by individual countries to actually prove immunity. “
He said that existing international health regulations, for example requiring a certificate of yellow fever to enter certain countries, already exist the framework for a global approach. “The ground work is done.” The issue will be how to implement a secure system. “Currently people in Britain are given a little paper after being vaccinated. It is not safe at all. At some point there is a need to consider objectively how we will keep vaccination records without burdening the NHS. [For health passports to work] We need a way to validate vaccines. “
Some travel companies have already made vaccines mandatory for travel. Saga requires its cruises passengers who take both doses of the vaccine at least 14 days before departure. In November, Qantas chief Alan Joyce told Australia’s Nine Network that passengers would have to prove they had been vaccinated before flying.
But some experts point to several barriers to health passports, with varying levels of efficacy, how long immunity persists and whether vaccinated people can still spread the virus to others. And not all travel bodies support the idea of a vaccine certificate.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) branded them discriminatory. “We are in a very early stage of vaccine rollout. If you make the vaccine mandatory it will mean that many people will not be able to fly, even if they are kovid-free, ”said a WTTC spokesperson. “This is preferable to a test-and-release scheme where passengers test before the trip to prove that they are covid-free.”
He said that the lack of international co-ordination on Kovid-security is a major block to resume the journey and increase consumer confidence. “There is a crazy paving of rules and regulations that most people find so difficult to navigate that it is reducing travel.”
The mixed message from the UK government is also disappointing travel companies. Derek Moore of the Association of Independent Tour Operators said the government was “shooting wildly in all directions, overtaking the massacre”.
“Currently, vaccination is going well and is very successful. Our customers are better understood than ministers; Our customers (many over 50) know that they will soon be vaccinated for self-protection. “
Moore said comments made earlier this week by Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Foreign Secretary Dominic Rabb, warning them to rush for a book holiday abroad this summer, were “frightening people and making them unnecessary.” Were booking off “.
Some travel companies showed strong interest in foreign travel despite tightening border controls and ministerial warnings. But Moore reported that this “surge” in bookings was from a position without a booking. “There are still many people who will not do the book. And the comments of ministers like Priti Patel ‘it is too early to speculate about travel restrictions’ are not helping.
Last year was the worst year on record for tourism. The World Trade Organization predicts international tourist arrivals to be 70–75%, or one billion fewer arrivals, for 2020, resulting in an economic loss of US $ 2 trillion in world GDP.