Governments are not likely to insist on Covid-19 vaccinations as a requirement for entry, according to the boss of the World Travel and Tourism Council.
Gloria Guevara, WTTC and president, said: “I don’t believe governments will request vaccination as a requirement [for entry] as they will kill their [tourism] sector.”
She was speaking at an online update from the Commons Project Foundation and the World Economic Forum, which are coordinating international efforts to develop a globally recognised standard ‘Covid passport’.
Called the CommonPass, the digital health app enables travellers to document their Covid-19 status to satisfy country entry requirements.
Guevara said testing will remain the key element to enable international travel because the vaccination programmes will take several months to take effect and will initially only affect vulnerable groups and healthcare workers.
“The vulnerable will be the last ones who will be travelling so testing will remain important,” she said.
She expects gradual changes later in 2021 as vaccination becomes more widespread.
“If the application can show that you have been vaccinated, by a certain time we will see the protocols may change, so you may not have to wear a mask,” she said.
“Little by little, as the population gets vaccinated, there will be changes.”
One of the first countries to adopt the CommonPass app will be the Caribbean island of Aruba.
Dangui Oduber, minister for health, tourism and sport, told the online forum that CommonPass helps the country to verify every document that is uploaded to Aruba’s health app.
The country introduced its own health app in July and is working with laboratories in the US to validate tests, as negative results are required for visitors.
“Aruba will be one of the first countries to recognise and sync with CommonPass,” he said.
“We should start in February: visitors can use CommonPass to travel to Aruba.”
Paul Meyer, chief executive of the Commons Project Foundation, said it is important to be able to verify test and vaccination certificates, citing a recent report of a flight from Moscow to China, which had 200 passengers with the same test certificate.
The Commons Project Foundation is working with the World Economic Forum to develop the CommonTrust Network to make it easier for individuals to understand each destination’s requirements and ensure that only verifiable lab results and vaccination records from trusted sources are presented.
The WTTC and the World Economic Forum said today that they will work more closely together, and their first major collaboration will see WTTC joining the CommonTrust Network.
Christoph Wolff, head of mobility at the World Economic Forum, said: “The CommonTrust Network is an ambitious but necessary collaboration across and beyond the travel and tourism ecosystem, which will harmonise programmes related to digital Covid-19 test results and health record verification.
“Members of the network are building a much-needed global registry of trusted laboratory data sources, standard formats for lab results, and standard tools to make those results digitally accessible. This will go a long way to support the safe reopening of international borders and the resumption of economic activity based on travel and tourism.”