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August 19, 2021

Confusion over vaccine certificates could hamper travel recovery

The complexity of proving vaccination status could stall the recovery of destinations reliant on international travel.

By Globaldata Travel and Tourism

The lack of an internationally recognised vaccine certification system could hinder recovery as travellers are left confused. With varying rules, some may opt for domestic trips, dealing a blow to destinations that are dependent on international visitation.

Travel restrictions are the second biggest deterrent to travel, with 55% of respondents in a GlobalData Poll* saying that this would deter them from travelling. Confusion over ways to prove vaccination status and different rules across destinations have left travellers confused. Vaccines were hailed as a travel enabler and glimmer of hope for the industry. However, fragmented rules and a lack of mutual agreements continue to restrict travel. For some destinations, travellers need to jump through several hoops to prove their status, and if travelling to numerous countries, the process often differs. Therefore, travel recovery could be further hampered. Even though it appears restrictions have eased, the complexity of proving vaccination will continue to be a barrier.

Acceptable proof of vaccination varies

Different nations dictate varying rules to show proof of vaccination, from paper to digital records. US paper CDC cards will not be accepted in Turks and Caicos from 1 September 2021, with a digital record required, which is not easy to obtain. This adds a layer of complexity for travellers and could cause them to rethink their plans.

Proof of vaccination seems to be an afterthought of the vaccine rollout. 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. However, uptake has been poor, and there has been limited government integration. With other providers entering the space, it has created a fragmented system requiring travellers to upload proof themselves to generate a digital pass. Destinations could miss out on visitors if the rules are difficult to understand. Travellers could pivot to destinations with easier rules or opt for domestic trips as a result.

Simple solutions are required quickly

Travellers 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.


* GlobalData poll, 1364 respondents, 17 November 2020 to 18 May 2021

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