IATA backs EU Covid-19 certificate as ‘global standard’

The digital certificate should be used as a template by other countries to help speed up the resumption of international travel, urges IATA.

Even though it appears restrictions have eased, the complexity of proving vaccination will continue to be a barrier, say experts.
Even though it appears restrictions have eased, the complexity of proving vaccination will continue to be a barrier, say experts. Photo Credit:European Commission

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) endorsed the European Commission’s EU Digital Covid Certificate and urged countries to use it as a standard for their own certificates.

The EU Digital Covid Certificate (DCC) shares travellers’ Covid-19 vaccination and testing status and has been implemented in the 27 member states of the European Union.

IATA hailed DCC as a model for other countries to follow.

“In the absence of a single global standard for digital vaccine certificates, it should serve as a blueprint for other nations looking to implement digital vaccination certificates to help facilitate travel and its associated economic benefits,” said IATA deputy director general Conrad Clifford in a statement.

Up to 60 other countries are looking to incorporate a DCC model into their own certificates, according to IATA.

The lack of an international standard, however, will continue to hamper cross-border travel, according to IATA.

“The absence of a global standard makes it much harder for airlines, border authorities and governments to recognise and verify a traveller’s digital vaccination certificate,” said IATA SVP for operations and safety and security Nick Careen in a statement.

Different – and changing – entry requirements between countries has created a complex and confusing situation for travellers looking to travel long haul.

Last week the EU removed six countries — including the US — from a white list of destinations whose tourists should be permitted entry without any restrictions such as mandatory quarantine. Those on the list must have fewer than 75 new cases daily for every 100,000 people over the previous 14 days — a threshold that is not currently being met in the US.

“Travellers have been left confused over how to provide their vaccination status with varying rules across destinations,” said Gus Gardner, an associate travel and tourism analyst at GlobalData, a data analytics firm. “For some destinations, travellers need to jump through several hoops to prove their status, and if travelling to numerous countries, the process often differs. Even though it appears restrictions have eased, the complexity of proving vaccination will continue to be a barrier.”

IATA deployed its own digital health app, the IATA Travel Pass, to enable travellers to upload and share verified health documentation, such as the DCC, to cross-border authorities. Carriers including Etihad and Emirates have been among its first users. Another digital health passport available for adoption by cross-border institutions is CommonPass, developed by the Swiss not-for-profit The Commons Project Foundation and the World Economic Forum.

However, adoption of digital health passports has been low and too fragmented, according to GlobalData. “IATA’s travel pass was hailed as an industry solution, but uptake has been poor, and there has been limited government integration,” according to Gardner. “With other providers entering the space, it has created a fragmented system requiring travellers to upload proof themselves to generate a digital pass.”

Source: Association Meetings International







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