Published on: Monday, May 23, 2022
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has published a new report on best practice and support for governments to introduce a common “digital travel portal”, to enable safe and stress-free travel, which reduce delays at airports.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a lack of global coordination as governments have introduced a constant patchwork of digital and paper requirements.
WTTC calls for alignment to build resilience and ensure there is a clear global system focused on an individual’s health status that does not interrupt international travel, which throughout the pandemic , has caused serious economic damage.
“Implementing a Digital Travel Portal,” created by WTTC and the Commons Project Foundation, is aimed at governments and builds on the “Digital Solutions for Reviving International Travel” report released on December 21.
The report gives a blueprint to governments on how to implement a digital travel portal not just during COVID-19, but during any future health crisis that threatens economies and global travel and tourism, ensuring that controls of health are based on the individual, before traveling, to achieve a smooth journey.
The portal would allow travelers to electronically share, for example, their digital COVID-19 vaccination status, or any other required document, before starting their trip.
Once booked, travelers would simply visit the destination-managed online portal, where their documentation would be uploaded, checking their status in seconds.
Data may also be combined with other standard security and visa requirements.
The previous report provided eight recommendations and addressed the global challenge posed by ever-changing policies and processes, which are not only complex and unsustainable, but also further hamper the recovery of an already struggling sector.
Julia Simpson, president and CEO of WTTC, said that over the past two years governments have found their own solutions to stop the pandemic by restricting travel, but the result has been chaos.
People should be allowed to travel based on their individual health status using a government one-stop-shop digital platform before starting their journey.
Governments talk about resilience after COVID-19. By investing in this system now, governments and their economies will be better protected against any future pandemics.
Zhenya Lindgardt, CEO of The Commons Project Foundation, said that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, now is the time for governments to ensure preparedness for whatever may come next.
The past two years have shown us that health is likely to remain central to border crossings in the future, and implementing digital portals for health verification is an essential step in building resilience against to public health crises.
The Commons Project is proud to support the WTTC in its efforts to help countries lay the foundation for resuming safe travel and keeping borders open.
The report offers 12 recommendations as general best practice principles to be applied across the digital travel portal: privacy by design and by default, compliance with data protection and privacy laws, language capability, communication 24 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and legal action in the event of a dispute, among other things.
The report also provides five recommendations related to specific features and functionality considered essential for an effective portal, providing health security and an efficient experience, such as traveler questionnaire and government integration, among others.
For countries that still require traveler COVID-19 status checks, this report (along with the December report) provides guidance on best practices for collecting and analyzing traveler health information prior to travel. and digitally connect the outlet with tour operators, reducing traveler anxiety and burden. at airports.
For countries that have removed COVID-19 status checks, this report also provides a resilience and preparedness tool for the next pandemic, or other major incident, with best practice guidance on how to collect and Efficiently process travelers’ digital health information before their trip.
Finally, digital travel portals could also be integrated with other government services, such as visa application processes, to provide an efficient digital one-stop shop for governments and travelers.
Tags: ‘Digital Travel Portal’, COVID-19 pandemic, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)