The widespread use of COVID-19 vaccination certificates, sometimes termed vaccine passports, will not be enough to successfully restart international tourism amid the pandemic, as other tools, such as digital health passes and effective testing, will be required, Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary-general of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), told Sputnik in an interview
MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 18th May, 2021) The widespread use of COVID-19 vaccination certificates, sometimes termed vaccine passports, will not be enough to successfully restart international tourism amid the pandemic, as other tools, such as digital health passes and effective testing, will be required, Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary-general of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), told Sputnik in an interview.
"The rollout of vaccines is going at different paces in different places. Vaccinations are just one part of the solution to the restart of tourism. UNWTO works for a tourism that is inclusive and non-discriminatory in every way. Therefore, vaccination status should not be the sole criteria for allowing tourists to enter a destination," Pololikashvili stated.
Several international organizations, including the European Union, have announced that they will create digital health certificates, which are intended to facilitate the cross-border movement of people as COVID-19 continues to spread by allowing users to upload testing and vaccination information.
According to Pololikashvili, these digital certificates, along with the creation of comprehensive contact tracing systems and streamlined testing procedures for travelers at their departure and arrival points, will be needed in addition to confirmation of an individual's vaccination status.
"Instead, they [vaccination certificates] should form part of a wider approach, also including digital health passes, testing on departure and arrival and effective tracing," the UNWTO secretary-general stated.
UNWTO and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced the launch of a Destination Tracker this past April ahead of the planned restart of international travel. This portal allows governments to provide up-to-date information of all the requirements for international travelers at their destination.
"People understandably want to feel safe when they travel. And they want to feel confident ... The UNWTO and IATA Destination Tracker provides this information, allowing people to constantly review an ever-evolving situation and make informed decisions," Pololikashvili remarked.
The IATA is also trialing its new Travel Pass scheme, which allows travelers to upload their COVID-19 test results and vaccination status to a digital portal, in conjunction with 32 airlines,
Several tourist hotspots, including Greece, have already opened their borders and resorts to international tourists.
From May 14, arrivals from a list of 53 approved countries are welcome to travel to Greece on vacation providing that they fill in a passenger locator form before arrival and provide one of a negative PCR test, documentation that they have recently recovered from COVID-19, or confirmation they have received a full vaccine dosing regimen.
Russia's Sputnik V and China's Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines are on the Greek government's list of acceptable vaccines, along with those developed by companies such as Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca, and Moderna.