Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu acknowledged that the latest measures to tackle the latest waves of COVID-19 are weighing heavily on the travel and tourism industry
Speaking at the eighth virtual meeting of the Global Tourism Crisis Committee of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) the ICAO Secretary General, Dr. Fang Liu acknowledged that the latest measures to face the most recent waves of COVID-19 transmission it is weighing heavily on global travel and tourism.
He stressed that there were few signs of short-term relief for the travel and tourism markets, given that the world still faces limited supplies of vaccines and insufficient data on transmission of the virus by people who have been vaccinated.
Dr. Liu underscored that ICAO is collaborating with States, partner agencies and industry in the challenge of global vaccine distribution and to develop further guidance applicable to current and future pandemics.
The official drew the attention of her colleagues to the recently published ICAO manual on Cross-Border Risk Management Tests and Measures, and stressed that the multi-level health measures it describes are likely to continue to be applied by states in the medium and long term. . “Proper certification of vaccines may be required in the near future, but in the meantime, international acceptance of test results should be a key priority,” he noted. “Currently there is no agreed means to do it from one country to another in an irrefutable and fraud-resistant way.”
When and where they are required, ICAO also recommends that COVID-19 test results and vaccination certificates be provided in a timely and reliable manner, enabling rapid facilitation of travelers while ensuring fairness in travel. access.
“Such solutions must also be respectful of privacy and personal data, adaptable to different infrastructures and conditions, and economically reasonable for all concerned,” stressed Dr. Liu. “Several different approaches are currently being developed and it is critical that we work to ensure their effective interoperability.”
In addition, he noted that ICAO is collaborating with WHO, IATA and other stakeholders in the travel sector to standardize vaccination and testing certificates, thus promoting mutual recognition leading to the possible reduction of quarantine measures.
Technical solutions for both vaccination and a test certificate could be based on ICAO specifications for Visible Digital Seals (VDS), as already defined in ICAO Doc 9303 on Machine Readable Travel Documents (MRTD) , to ensure global interoperability and a safe customer friendly approach.
“VDS-based test certificates will be secure, trustworthy, privacy-protective and interoperable, based on internationally recognized standards and specifications, and tailored to the capabilities of the existing infrastructure,” he said.
Dr. Liu concluded by underlining that international alignment in acceptance of test results and vaccination certificates remains a key global goal and the best way to move towards the resumption of global travel and tourism.