IATA Pass May Spark Recovery

With the recent announcement that IATA’s COVID-19 digital travel pass could be ready ‘within weeks,’ data and analytics firm, GlobalData says that the new pass “could spark meaningful recovery of international travel.”

Ralph Hollister, analyst, travel & tourism at GlobalData, observes that: “IATA’s Travel Pass is not the golden ticket to an instant recovery for the global travel sector, but it will no doubt help.”

According to GlobalData, international air arrivals decreased by 48.1% YOY (Year-Over-Year) in 2020.

Due to this unprecedented drop in demand, which has now continued into the start of 2021, ongoing testing, tracing and vaccinations rollouts will need to be continued alongside the implementation of the digital COVID-19 Travel Pass in order to ensure a strong and sustained recovery.

Said Hollister: “International travel is a possibility this summer and the success of vaccine rollouts may allow for short-haul travel to resume between many economically developed nations.”

“However,” he continued, “low traveller confidence may still stop many from traveling. GlobalData’s survey found that 52% of global respondents are either ‘quite’ or ‘extremely’ concerned regarding restrictions on international travel. IATA’s Travel Pass should, therefore, help to ease these ongoing apprehensions.”

Hollister said that: “As the app confirms if a passenger has had the appropriate COVID-19 tests or vaccines required to enter a country, this will assure travelers that there will be no sudden surprises when they enter the destination, such as restrictions on movement.”

“However, global rollout of the app could be difficult due to the insistence by some governments on paper documentation for proof of vaccination or negative test meaning that some persuasion may be needed for specific countries. Furthermore, app rollout could be difficult in developing nations where levels of smartphone ownership may not be as high in comparison to developed countries. This could mean that the rollout is seen as something that increases global inequality in terms of which nations can and can’t freely travel.”

And he concluded that: “Although barriers are present, the rollout of a digital Covid Travel Pass will be beneficial to the global travel sector and will increase the likelihood of a meaningful start to recovery in 2021.”

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