The World Travel & Tourism Council is calling for a common ‘Digital Travel Portal’, to allow people around the world to travel safely and without stress – and reduce airport delays.
It said the pandemic highlighted a lack of global coordination as governments introduced a patchwork of digital and paper requirements.
Now the WTTC is calling for alignment to “build resilience and ensure there is a clear global system focused on an individual’s health status that does not bring international travel to a standstill”.
It sets out its case in a report called Implementing a Digital Travel Portal, created by WTTC and The Commons Project Foundation.
The report is aimed at governments and builds on the Digital Solutions for Reviving International Travel report published in December 2021.
The portal would enable travellers to electronically share, for instance, their digital Covid vaccination status, or any other required documentation, before they begin their journey.
Once booked, travellers would simply visit the online portal managed by the destination, where their documentation would be uploaded, verifying in seconds their status.
The data can also be combined with other standard security and visa requirements.
Julia Simpson, WTTC president and chief executive, said: “Over the past two years, governments reached for their own solutions to halt the pandemic by restricting travel, but the result was chaos – chaos for the confused traveller and chaos for economies with the loss of 62 million jobs worldwide in 2020.
“Today we publish a report that provides guidance on how to create a single digital travel solution that governments can adopt and join up at an international level.
“If we ever face another pandemic, we must do a better job. People should be allowed to travel based on their individual health status by using a one-stop government digital platform before they start their journey.
“Governments talk about resilience post-Covid. By investing in this system now, governments and their economies will be better protected against any future pandemics.”
Zhenya Lindgardt, chief executive of The Commons Project Foundation, said: “Now is the time for governments to ensure preparedness for whatever may come next.
“The past two years have shown us that health will likely remain a core component of border crossing moving forward, and the implementation of digital portals for health status verification is a critical step toward building more resilience in the face of public health crises.”
Digital Travel Portals could also be integrated with other government services, such as visa application processes, to provide an efficient digital one-stop-shop for governments and travellers.