With vaccine distribution efforts around the world reaching more people each day, future travels are very much on the mind. Out of it all, an interesting development has emerged that has the potential to change travel as we know it post-pandemic: vaccine passports.
Particularly useful for international travel, vaccine passports are new smartphone apps used to store bits of your health information, most notably including your COVID-19 vaccination status. These vaccine passports are increasingly considered to be the "golden ticket" in terms of getting travel back up on its feet.
Many are praising the introduction of such platforms, as they would (in theory) help eliminate quarantines or ease barriers to travel in some destinations. Travelers may also be more willing to embark on trips like cruises if they know everyone else onboard or in their group is able to prove their vaccination status. Though there are valid concerns about exacerbating existing inequities related to lack of access and privilege the vaccination passports may present.
According to a recent Travel Consul survey of travel executives (including agency owners, independent agents and tour operators), vaccine and immunity passports will be key to driving bookings. Two-thirds of respondents agree that destinations and suppliers requiring immunity passports or e-vaccination certificates for international travel would likely boost bookings in 2021, while 44% of respondents agree that widespread vaccinations will also contribute to an increase.
WHAT WOULD THE PASSPORTS LOOK LIKE?
Digitally, vaccine passports would likely resemble many of the QR codes seen implemented by attractions and restaurants amidst the pandemic. It could live in your digital wallet, similarly to tickets to concerts or Broadway shows. USA Today says the Biden administration is among those who would also like a paper version of the passport the be available.
STANDARDIZATION IS CURRENTLY AN ISSUE.
According to The Washington Post, a growing number of private-sector companies and governments are trying to tackle creating their own apps, which could cause confusion among travelers understanding which pass they'd need to use.
WHAT'S ALREADY IN USE?
Recently, New York state launched the first-of-its-kind vaccination passport in the U.S. specifically focused on allowing vaccinated people into businesses and events. According to TimeOut, The Excelsior Pass app launched on April 2 and shares your vaccination status or negative COVID-19 results with entertainment venues and businesses through a QR code. The app was recently tested at Brooklyn Nets game and New York Rangers game.
Internationally, plans to implements a vaccination passport or certificate are also being considered in tourism hotspots like the European Union.
Many say these proof of vaccination apps are inevitable for future events and travel, so it's key to stay in the know as they're developed so your groups understand what is likely to be expected of them post-pandemic.
Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for Groups Today.