A single global portal needed to restore international travel: WTTC report

A single global portal needed to restore international travel: WTTC report

LONDON — If we’re going to restore international mobility, digital solutions will be key, says the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) in a new groundbreaking report.

Titled ‘Digital Solutions for Reviving International Travel,” the report 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 safe resumption of travel.

WTTC is urging governments to accept four of the most widely used digital COVID vaccination certificates (EU Digital COVID Certificate, ICAO Visible Digital Seal, DIVOC, and SMART Health Cards) as proof of COVID-19 status. The report shows how international travellers, whether fully vaccinated or testing negative, would then have a globally recognized digital COVID certificate that would enable them to travel freely and safely anywhere in the world.

To address the current global challenge posed by the current patchwork of policies and processes, governments should create their own ‘Digital Travel Portal,’ says the report, 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, and verify their status online in seconds, thus avoiding confusing processes and long queues.

“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 harmonize and safely reopen international travel,” said Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO. “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 recognizes the main digital passes currently in use worldwide and acts as a one-stop shop for travellers and governments.”

Along with the World Health Organization (WHO), the new report 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 the WTTC, as a result of international travel coming to a standstill in 2020, more than 62 million jobs were lost and the sector’s contribution to the global GDP fell by a staggering US$4.5 trillion.