Travel confusion could hamper recovery

August 30, 2021
Photo: IATA

As travellers around the globe consider international travel as some border restrictions ease a survey has revealed that a lack of an internationally recognised COVID vaccine certification system could derail a travel recovery.

Analytics company GlobalData found that almost 60 per cent said quarantine requirements and confusion over travel restrictions would stop them from travelling.

With a host of varying rules, some may opt for domestic trips, dealing a blow to destinations that are dependent on international visitation.

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GlobalData associate travel and tourism analyst Gus Gardner said COVID “vaccines were hailed as a travel enabler” and gave a glimmer of hope to 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 per cent of respondents,” he said.

Mr Gardner said travellers had been left confused over how to provide their vaccination status.

“For some destinations, travellers need to jump through several hoops to prove their status, and if travelling to numerous countries the process often differs,” he said.

“Even though it appears restrictions have eased, the complexity of proving vaccination will continue to be a barrier.”

Adding to the confusion is that different countries dictate varying rules on vaccination proof, including from paper to digital records.

GlobalData said digital records were easy to get in some countries.

“Proof of vaccination seems to be an afterthought of the vaccine rollout,” Mr Garner said.

“The lack of digitalised 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.

Adding to the confusion, other providers are entering the space, creating a fragmented system.

“Travellers want simple solutions that require little effort and the industry must work together to integrate a solution that works for all industry stakeholders,” Mr Gardiner said.

“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.”