DOT, private sector back use of IATA Travel Pass

- BY MA. STELLA F. ARNALDO @akosistell­abm Special to the BUSSINESS MIRROR

THE Department of Tourism (DOT) and the private sector are supporting the adoption of a digital travel pass for foreign tourists arriving and Filipinos leaving the Philippine­s as a step towards the safe resumption of internatio­nal travel.

In a news statement, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat said, “is move is parallel with the steps undertaken by other countries that have successful­ly relaxed borders to visitors amid the Covid-19 pandemic.”

e DOT chief met with representa­tives of the Internatio­nal Air Transport Associatio­n (IATA) and local tourism industry leaders on Wednesday, where the associatio­n presented its IATA Travel Pass, a technology solution for internatio­nal travelers.

“e DOT recognizes the challenges that the country is currently facing due to the pandemic. e agency’s work is centered on the gradual and careful reopening of tourism destinatio­ns to support livelihood­s, with health and safety as our top priority,” she said. “Albeit in its testing stage, the IATA Travel Pass, which offers safe and convenient travel, has so far been

helpful to airlines that have adopted it for trial,” she added.

e IATA Travel Pass allows passengers to upload the details of their vaccinatio­n and other pertinent informatio­n that may be needed by the destinatio­n country. To prevent the use of fake documents, the IATA proposed that only certified laboratori­es carry out vaccinatio­ns or required tests for travel, in which results will be directly uploaded to the passenger’s Travel Pass.

As of April 4, some 20 airlines and airline groups have adopted the IATA Travel Pass on a trial basis. IATA is the global trade associatio­n of passenger and cargo airlines.

In an interview with the BUSINESS MIRROR, Tourism Congress of the Philippine­s President Jose C. Clemente said, “I think it will hasten the restart of travel and tourism, knowing that there is an app that can be used and contains all pertinent informatio­n needed to make travel easier for people.”

Asked whether the Travel Pass will allow passengers to bypass the health and safety protocols of destinatio­n countries, such as quarantine and testing requiremen­ts, Clemente said he was not under that impression. “I think it will still be up to the destinatio­n country to decide on the entry of Travel App users.” He noted the Travel Pass can be embedded in an airline’s own app, “so passengers don’t need too many apps on his smartphone.”

e DOT will set up meetings between IATA and the Department­s of Transporta­tion, and of Foreign Affairs to further discuss the Travel Pass.

The IATA Travel Pass has four open-sourced and interopera­ble modules which can be combined to achieve an end-to-end solution:

■ A Travel Pass app that will enable passengers to create a digital passport, verify their tests or vaccinatio­ns with regulatory authoritie­s, and submit requiremen­ts such as test results or vaccinatio­n certificat­es to facilitate travel;

■ A registry of health requiremen­ts where passengers can get informatio­n on travel, testing, and vaccinatio­n requiremen­ts;

■ A registry of testing/vaccinatio­n centers which enables passengers to find Covid-19 testing centers and laboratori­es at their departure or arrival locations; and

■ A Lab app that will allow authorized Covid-19 testing centers and laboratori­es to securely send test results or vaccinatio­n certificat­es to passengers.

“Once the country’s adoption of the IATA Travel Pass is put into motion, the DOT hopes to safely reopen our tourist destinatio­ns to internatio­nal visitors and revive the tourism industry as a whole. But this will be done only when the time is right,” stressed Romulo Puyat.

Founded in 1945, the IATA has 290 member-airlines, which account for 82 percent of the world’s total commercial air traffic. Its members in the Philippine­s are Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines.

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines