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BEYOND20 GLOBAL INTERNATIONAL TOURIST ARRIVALS FELL BY 73%IN 2020


COMMENT


Source: World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) • *Provisional data for 2020. Data as collected byUNWTO, March 2021.


still determine how to enforce this decision, which is why a systemfor proving vaccination status will become increasingly important moving forward.


Effective vaccine passport systems It is paramount that we have a system that allows vaccinated people to travel more easily across borders. We recently co-signed a letter to the EuropeanCommission in support of Digital Green Certificates, whichwould helpto remove confusion and streamline efforts to open coun- tries within the EU to vaccinated travellers. The establishment of effective vaccine


passport systems would allow for more coun- tries to lift restrictions, creating travel bub- bles that help speed up the recovery of the industry. A transparent and comprehensible systemfor verifying vaccination status will be a major turning point in the recovery of the travel industry.


Consistent guidelines to encourage safe travel Regardless of whether a vaccine passport becomes widespread, there are other initia- tives that can help curb the spread of the virus and rebuild confidence in travel. However, the fractured advice given by different countries throws up hurdles for travellers. Today, travel- lers remain confused about what is expected of themacross the globe. Is their vaccine accepted where they are going? Should they get tested? Do they have to be quarantined? These are all questions that must be easy to answer for trav- ellers to feel confident venturing outside of their countries. Looking at the UK’s ‘traffic light’ system,


there still remains significant confusion around whether people can travel to certain countries on the “amber list” and what proto-


June/July 2021 www.fDiIntelligence.com


cols theymust followto do so, withsomeminis- ters andofficials discouraging travel altogether. The system was created to provide travellers with the proper guidance for how and where they should travel, but when there is conflict- ing messaging within governments, it under- mines traveller confidence and stifles recovery for the industry. If governments around the world came


together to set forth specific guidance to pro- mote safe travel, restrictions could be lifted and travellers would regain confidence. To point back to the EU Digital Green Certificates, in addition to proof of vaccination, travellers could also provide other forms of validation that would deem themas safe, including a neg- ative Covid test or verification of having recov- ered fromCovid recently. Setting guidelines is just one step — how


they are communicated and enforced is even morecritical, and somethingwemust get right. While there’s still plenty of work to be


done, I remain optimistic about the future of the travel industry, which I have been a part of for more than 21 years. I have seen the industry weather countless storms, and after each setback we see travel bounce back stronger than it had been before. This time will be no different, and through thoughtful collaborations between the industry, govern- ments, international bodies and travellers eager to get moving, we can build an even bet- ter future for the travel industry than we saw before the pandemic. It’s only through sustained and substantial


support that we can build the widespread recovery we all want. The time to do so hasn’t passed—it’s just beginning. ■


Glenn Fogel is president and chief executive at Booking Holdings, and chief executive at Booking.com


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