Travel needs to be “as easy as possible” within Covid-secure health and safety guidelines, according to experts speaking on a Pata Pathway to Revival webinar.
Dale Keller chief executive the Board of Airline Representatives (BAR UK), which is being consulted by the Government’s Global Travel Taskforce, said: “We are absolutely adamant as an airline industry that we don’t want a situation where if you are not vaccinated you can’t travel.
“That’s why we are very much asking, through the Global Travel Taskforce, for a health certification that identifies people who are either vaccinated or through the testing regime.”
The Global Travel Taskforce is due to report on the resumption of international travel by April 12, and transport secretary Grant Shapps has confirmed a form of travel certification will be introduced.
Keller pointed out that digital health wallets being discussed should not be called “passports”. The difference, he explained was that “a passport indicates that it is a requirement to travel” whereas “the health certificate or digital health app is demonstrating how you meet entry requirements, which may be different depending on what country it is and what level of health certification you are holding”.
He said “getting the technology in place” was the key, and said: “If we don’t have a digital solution, which we might not do at the very start of the reopening, it’s very difficult to scale the business to anything like the numbers we had without queues of people. We’re very keen to avoid that.”
Keller added: “A lot of the confidence will be built on the experience of the first movers who travel in the first few weeks. We have to get this right and the public and the industry have to buy in to that process.”
He also predicted that “one day Covid will be in the background” and not a prerequisite for entry to most destinations.
Michael Marshall, chief commercial officer of Minor Hotels said: “We need to make it as easy as possible to travel. At the moment there’s so much paperwork involved.”
He said the combination of a fit to fly certificate, vaccine certificates, Covid tests, Covid insurance plus visas was making travel complicated.
“If we can limit the amount of documents needed then it’s easy for people to travel when they want to travel and as simply as they can, while of course maintaining the safety and standards that we need,” Marshall said.
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