MADRID: Airlines are working on a vaccination passport for travellers to stimulate tourism. IATA will launch mobile app Travel Pass in March. Whether the app will be a success depends on collaboration between governments, airlines, laboratories and travellers.
The passport will state that the holder is not infected with Covid-19 following a negative test or vaccination. With the passport, travellers can demonstrate they are healthy and can travel without risk. The tourism industry is eagerly looking forward to such a tool to aid its recovery.
Controversy over introduction of a vaccination passport
In mid-January it became clear that Spain is in favour of the introduction of a vaccination passport. European Commission President von der Leyen was also enthusiastic about this initiative. However, von der Leyen points out the danger of discrimination against EU citizens who have not yet been vaccinated.
Employers’ organisation Exceltur believes a vaccination passport should be introduced uniformly for the entire EU and United Kingdom. According to Exceltur, this is a means by which foreign tourism can be encouraged, borders can reopen and the quarantine restrictions lifted. This is where the challenge lies; there are several initiatives for such a solution.
IATA developing own mobile app
The IATA (International Air Transport Association) is working on its own mobile app, the Travel Pass. The organistion is collaborating with airlines such as Iberia, Vueling and British Airways. The app makes it possible for data exchanges between laboratories, travellers, airlines and government institutions. The goal is to launch the app in March and test it with a limited number of airlines. In the first instance, companies can decide whether they will join the scheme or not.
Another inititative is CommonPass from a Swiss NGO and the World Economic Forum. Airlines such as JetBlue, Lufthansa, Swiss, Cathay Pacific, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic have joined.
How successful will the vaccination passport be?
However, experts consulted by the Spanish news site Voz Populí warn that resources can only work successfully if everyone works together and shares information. “A vaccination passport can save the tourism sector, but the way it will work is crucial,” reports IATA.