Digital passes can boost travel confidence: GlobalData

Pilot use of the ICC AOKpass. Photo credit: Affinidi

Digital health passes and certificates can play a pivotal role in tourism recovery by boosting consumer confidence when travelling during the Covid era, highlighted a recent report by GlobalData.

The analytics company noted that several stakeholders of the travel and tourism industry, including destinations, airlines and associations like IATA, are exploring the option of digital passes and health certificates.

Pilot use of the ICC AOKpass. Photo credit: Affinidi

These digital passes and certificates intend to lower the risk of Covid-19 infection by providing accurate details on the health status of passengers.

Since May 2020, Singapore has been testing ICC AOKpass, a digitally verifiable Covid-19 health certificate for entrance to the country. It is backed by health and security services provider International SOS, International Chamber of Commerce and AOKpass. In line with this, all travellers from Indonesia and Malaysia can make use of the facility that will be made available to other international travellers in a phased manner.

AOKpass is also being used on flights between Abu Dhabi and Karachi/Islamabad as well as Rome and New York City/Atlanta. Another similar digital pass, CommonPass, has been tested on flights between New York and London. Additionally, IATA is also working on a Travel Pass.

Animesh Kumar, director of travel & tourism and automotive consulting at GlobalData, said: “Digital passes help passengers prove that they adhere to the health entry requirements of their destination and enhance the safety of international travellers. Since these can be stored in and used through a mobile application, they are easy to use. The app securely stores and authenticates the negative Covid-19 PCR test results. The passes can also facilitate faster clearances if airports have dedicated immigration counters, similar to Changi Airport in Singapore.”

Stressing the urgent need for a framework that brings the passengers, testing labs, local authorities, airlines and immigration authorities on a common platform, GlobalData said that such digital passes/certificates can facilitate that. The use of QR codes, blockchain and decentralised data ensures data accuracy as well as privacy, it added.

A large-scale rollout of such passes would reduce the lag created by the time-consuming processing of paper certificates, which are also susceptible to potential test result frauds.

Kumar concluded: “Digital health passes would help in boosting the consumers’ confidence as they would enhance efficiency, safety, security as well as data privacy and reduce the risks of in-flight infections. There is also a potential for expanding the use of such digital passes for domestic travel as well as entry in concerts and stadiums.”

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