IATA is welcoming what it describes as “the increasing momentum towards re-opening of borders and relaxation of travel restrictions, as COVID-19 moves into the endemic phase.”
The airline industry’s association come following Canada’s March 17 announcement that it was removing the pre-arrival testing requirement for fully vaccinated travellers coming to the country.
In a survey that IATA did of travel restrictions for the world’s top 50 air travel markets (comprising 88% of international demand in 2019 as measured by revenue passenger kilometers), the association discovered the growing access available to vaccinated travellers:
- 25 markets representing 38% of 2019 international demand are open to vaccinated travellers without quarantine measures or testing requirements—up from 18 markets (28% of 2019 international demand) in mid-February.
- 38 markets representing 65% of 2019 international demand are open to vaccinated travellers with no quarantine requirements — up from 28 markets (50% of 2019 international demand) in mid-February.
Repeated surveys of passengers by IATA during the pandemic has shown that testing and especially quarantine are major barriers to travel.
IATA’s director general, Willie Walsh pointed out that: “The world is largely open for travel. As population immunity grows, more governments are managing COVID-19 through surveillance, as they do for other endemic viruses. That is great news for a growing number of destinations that will receive a much-needed economic boost from the upcoming Easter and Northern Summer travel seasons. Asia is the outlier.”
Said Walsh: “Hopefully recent relaxations including Australia, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Pakistan, and the Philippines are paving the way towards restoring the freedom to travel that is more broadly enjoyed in other parts of the world.”