Confusion over vaccine certificates hinders travel recovery
Vaccines were hailed as a travel enabler and a glimmer of hope for the industry.
Fragmented rules and a lack of mutual agreements continue to restrict travel.
Travelers have been left confused over how to provide their vaccination status.
The lack of an internationally recognized vaccine certification system could hamper travel recovery as many travelers are left confused about quarantine requirements and travel restrictions. With varying rules, some may opt for domestic trips, dealing a blow to destinations that are dependent on international visitation.
Vaccines were hailed as a travel enabler and a glimmer of hope for the industry. However, fragmented rules and a lack of mutual agreements continue to restrict travel, with travel restrictions being the second biggest deterrent to travel for 55% of respondents in a recent industry poll.
Travelers have been left confused over how to provide their vaccination status with varying rules across destinations. For some destinations, travelers need to jump through several hoops to prove their status, and if traveling to numerous countries, the process often differs. Even though it appears restrictions have eased, the complexity of proving vaccination will continue to be a barrier.
Different nations dictate varying rules to show proof of vaccination, from paper to digital records. Digital records are not easy to obtain in some nations, and will add a layer of complexity for travelers, which could cause them to rethink their plans.
Proof of vaccination seems to be an afterthought of the vaccine rollout. The lack of digitalized records in some countries, including the US, makes proving vaccinated status laborious. IATA’s travel pass was hailed as an industry solution but uptake has been poor, and there has been limited government integration. With other providers entering the space, it has created a fragmented system requiring travelers to upload proof themselves to generate a digital pass. Travelers could pivot to destinations with easier rules or opt for domestic trips as a result causing destinations to miss out on visitors.
Travelers want simple solutions that require little effort. The industry must work together to integrate a solution that works for all industry stakeholders. Until then, some will shy away from travel due to the complicated nature of proving vaccination status.
Unless steps are taken soon, it could potentially suppress international demand as rules could be too difficult to understand and destinations’ recovery may stall as a result.