The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has published a report offering a blueprint to governments on how best to implement a common digital travel portal.
The portal would make global travel simpler by collecting and processing traveller’s health information ahead of travel, with the digital platform replacing paper and QR codes.
Travellers would be able to electronically share, for instance, their digital Covid vaccination status or any other required documentation, which would then be verified before they begin their journey. The WTTC states that this would reduce “traveller anxiety and burden at airports”.
The ‘Implementing a Digital Travel Portal’ report has been created by the WTTC and The Commons Project Foundation.
The WTTC is calling for a “clear global system focused on an individual’s health status that does not bring international travel to a standstill”.
While prompted by Covid-19, the WTTC asserts that the portal would be of great use beyond the pandemic, acting as “a resilience and preparedness tool” for future health crises.
The WTTC added that the portal could also be integrated with other government services, such as visa application processes, to provide a “digital one-stop-shop” for both governments and travellers.
Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said:
“Over the past two years, governments reached for their own solutions to halt the pandemic by restricting travel, but the result was chaos. Chaos for the confused traveller and chaos for economies with the loss of 62 million jobs worldwide in 2020.
“Today we publish a report that provides guidance on how to create a single digital travel solution that governments can adopt and join up at an international level.
“If we ever face another pandemic, we must do a better job. People should be allowed to travel based on their individual health status by using a one-stop government digital platform before they start their journey.
“Governments talk about resilience post COVID. 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, added:
“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 will likely remain a core component of border crossing moving forward, and the implementation of digital portals for health status verification is a critical step toward building more resilience in the face of public health crises.
“The Commons Project is proud to support WTTC in its effort to help countries lay this foundation for resuming safe travel and keeping borders open.”
For more information, read the full report.