Proof of vaccination passports. A vital part of the visitor economy recovery.
By: John C. Dunn
By now the great majority of world is well aware of the devastating effect the Covid pandemic has had on the visitor economy. No part of the globe has been spared. Billions of dollars of tourism receipts have literally evaporated leaving a trail of empty cities, bankruptcies and crushing debt on tourism businesses with millions of tourism professionals out of work.
As the pandemic shows some signs of receding in parts of the world, governments are finally initiating recovery measures. One of those measures being hotly debated is vaccination passports, proof that a traveller is fully immunized with the Covid vaccine. On a positive note, many countries are in favour of implementing some sort of proof of vaccination in order to travel internationally. The European Union has recently approved a Green Pass program, IATA has a travel pass program, and most G20 countries are in favour. A recent Ipsos survey conducted in 28 countries found that on average 78% of adults were in favour of Covid vaccine passports to travel. Here in Canada, the federal government is also in favour but continues to study the means on how best to implement such a program.
The first thing that comes to mind is, “well it’s about time”. The science points to vaccines working and that vaccinated travel is possible and safe, so let’s accelerate the implementation of initiatives that makes it easy and safe to travel…..such as vaccine passports!
Unfortunately, the US, one of the biggest travel markets in the world and Canada’s #1 inbound market, is shying away from a centralized vaccine passport and is rather leaving it to the private sector to provide a solution. Of course, there are also the naysayers, privacy skeptics and others that just oppose for the sake of opposing. However, these types of ‘passports’ already exist. Most of us all have a vaccine booklet indicating all the vaccines one has had since childhood. If you have ever travelled to the African continent, you most likely have a “carte jaune” proving that you have been vaccinated for malaria, yellow fever, etc. That is no different then a virtual vaccination passport. Honestly, your Facebook page most likely has more information about you then a vaccination passport ever will.
Vaccine passports are not meant to show your entire medical history but rather just prove that you have been vaccinated for certain diseases and viruses, much like a regular travel passport indicates you have the right visa to enter a country. So, for the sake of saving the tourism industry and getting people travelling again, proof of vaccination passports is a no-brainer.