Tourism for vaccinated people, a decision as controversial as it is necessary
With the advance in inoculations in key source markets, the industry is debating whether to apply a filter, which, although it allows a safe partial reactivation, does not appeal to many travelers who still do not have the chance to join
The volume of vaccinated in various source markets in North America, the East, the Middle East and Europe has been growing rapidly in recent weeks and both airlines and cruise companies have already taken note and see this situation as a solid opportunity to partially reactivate their operations with specific services. that allow their fallen coffers to swell.
In mid-March, Royal Caribbean was the first company to mark a milestone in this regard, announcing that it will offer new 7-night itineraries from Nassau, The Bahamas, starting in June 2021, but only for clients who have been inoculated with any of the vaccines. against Covid-19. A few days later, then the firm added a new 7-night itinerary from Bermuda under the same modality.
“We are excited to return to offering an unforgettable vacation in the Caribbean, gradually and safely. Vaccinations are clearly a game changer for all of us, and with the number of vaccines and their impact growing rapidly, we believe that starting with cruises for vaccinated adult guests and crew is the right choice. As we move forward, we are counting on this requirement and other measures to inevitably evolve, ”said Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International.
Yesterday, the decision of Qatar Airways had a great impact, the airline operated the world's first flight fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
departed from Hamad International Airport at 11:00 am with only vaccinated crew and passengers on board, passengers were also served by fully vaccinated staff when checking their luggage. The special flight, which returned to Doha at 2:00 p.m., showcased all the measures the airline has implemented to ensure the highest standards of safety and hygiene on board, including its latest innovation, the world's first 'Zero-Touch'. , inflight entertainment technology. This special flight was operated by the airline's most sustainable and technologically advanced aircraft, the Airbus A350-1000, this flight also neutralizes carbon emissions in accordance with the airline's environmental responsibilities.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Officer His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “Today's special flight shows that the next stage in the recovery of international travel is not far off. We are proud to continue to lead the industry by operating the world's first flight with a fully vaccinated crew and passengers, providing a glimmer of hope for the future of international aviation. Since aviation is a critical economic engine both globally and here in the State of Qatar, we are grateful for the support we have received from our government and local health authorities to vaccinate our staff, with more than 1,000 vaccines administered by day."
“It is in the DNA of Qatar Airways to be at the forefront, setting the highest standards of safety and customer service. Before the pandemic, Qatar Airways became the first and only airline to receive the Skytrax Airline of the Year award five times. When the pandemic peaked in early April, our airline continued to fly to help repatriate millions of stranded passengers and transport essential medical supplies, while implementing the latest innovations in biosecurity and hygiene. As the launch of the vaccine begins to accelerate around the world, Qatar Airways remains committed to being the airline passengers can trust,
Some destinations in the Americas have not been left behind and have already chosen to follow these policies. Belize already established in February that travelers who provide proof of vaccination are not required to present a negative test result for the virus. The same is true in the Pacific, where the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador) already welcome those with a certificate of having been vaccinated.
A glimmer of hope
There is reason for optimism if vaccine rollout continues at this rate and travel restrictions are relaxed just before the busy summer season, along with a clear roadmap for increased mobility.
"Our research shows that if international travel and mobility resume in June this year, the sector's contribution to global GDP could increase dramatically in 2021, by 48.5% year-on-year," said Gloria Guvera Manzo, President and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
The official asserts that the key to unlocking safe international travel can be achieved through a clear, science-based framework to reopen international travel.
All unvaccinated travelers must face a comprehensive testing regimen prior to departure, as well as improved health and hygiene protocols, including mandatory use of masks. Digital health passes, such as the European Commission's Digital Green Certificate, would display a traveler's COVID-19 status, allowing for safe international travel.
These measures would be the foundation to build the recovery of the many millions of jobs lost due to the pandemic and reduce the dire social implications these losses have had on Travel and Tourism communities and on ordinary people who have been isolated by COVID. -19. restrictions.
In search of a consensus
Beyond the controversies about whether or not they are discriminatory, different health passports have already been announced that could provide considerable clarity when it comes to scheduling routes and ensuring operations in the industry.
Digital health certificates will be a key feature in the advancement of air travel. Establishing reliable and secure solutions to verify travelers' health credentials will be critical to facilitating smooth air travel and safeguarding public health.
One of the best prospects is the IATA Travel Pass, a secure solution that passengers can use to obtain and store data from reputable sources.
More than 20 airlines have announced tests to implement it and even yesterday, it was announced that Singapore will be the first destination to implement it. Starting May 1, passengers traveling to the Asian destination will be able to use the IATA Travel Pass at check-in with their airline.