Friday, June 25, 2021 | Dhu al-Qaadah 14, 1442 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Digital vaccine passport, next travel document

A new travel document in the form of a ‘vaccine passport’ may become handy for future travellers to explore the places and be safe even in the post-Covid era.


A vaccine passport is an application that runs on the mobile phone, where it stores Covid-19 related tests/results. It includes details such as PCR tests, fully vaccinated status if both doses of vaccine taken. This info is digitised and converted into QR code for easy access and machine-readable capability so that travellers do not have issues and queuing up in lines at airports across the world.


Experts in the travel and tourism sector opine that having vaccinated against the coronavirus would be the prime deciding factor of your next travel plan; hence getting the two jabs in time is the need of the hour.


“Undoubtedly, the vaccine passports will help the travel and tourism industry in Oman along with the international travel sector to return to normalcy, however specialised reports referred that this might not be until 2024, a year later than predicted,” says Abeer al Balushi, Assistant Manager — Corporate Communications, Governance Risk Management and Compliance at Oman Air.


She further said that the national carrier is currently in talks with the IATA for a digital passport that will help travellers move more quickly in the age of coronavirus and after the pandemic.


“Vaccine passport does not replace identity booklet called passport issued by a government. On the other hand, they both play a distinct and specific role,” adds Sunil D’Souza, CEO, Travel City Group.


A passport is a person’s identity issued by the respective government of a country across the world. It allows people entry into a foreign country provided they have valid visas.


“Original will always be original, and vaccine passport will be a supplement to aid one’s travel to another country,” representative of Air India adds.



As of now, both passport and vaccine passport play different roles. Yet critical for one to enter a foreign country during these challenging Covid-19 times.



“Vaccine passport is the next big thing to unlock business travel and most importantly leisure travel every country is adopting different strategy to inoculate their population and it is expected to cover the major part of the population by this year end,” adds Venkat, another travel expert.


The travel pass enables passengers to create a digital passport to verify their pre-travel test or vaccination meets the requirements of the destination. They will be able to share the test and vaccination certificates with authorities and airlines to facilitate travel. Furthermore, the new app will also enable travellers to manage all travel documentation digitally and seamlessly throughout the travel experience.


As previously announced, IATA and International Airlines have been working together to develop this solution. They will undertake a trial to demonstrate that this platform, combined with Covid-19 testing, can reopen international travel and replace quarantines. And in this regard, it is essentially required that Airlines and governments work together to reopen international travel and borders sooner.


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