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Article 3 (Mar 2021): Vaccine passport may boost travel industry

March 29, 2021
The global travel industry is still reeling from worldwide coronavirus travel restrictions.
According to CNN, the world remains largely locked down, and if the current travel restrictions continue, 2021 demand could recover to just 38 percent of 2019 pre-pandemic levels. While this would represent an improvement over 2020, when international travel demand was just a quarter of the previous year, it's still a devastating number for the travel industry.
One proposal for easing travel between countries is the so-called "vaccine passport," which would provide documentation for individuals who have been vaccinated. President Joe Biden recently signed an executive order requesting that government agencies assess whether paper and digital vaccination documents would be feasible, according to the New York Times. Advocates hope that vaccine documentation would allow travelers to move without the need for quarantines, testing and other restrictions.
According to the Irish Times, some airlines have already suggested that vaccine passports might eventually be required if they wish to fly. The bureaucratic hurdles are appear steep, however, as individual countries are likely to set their own rules. But even in the early stages of vaccine passport development, it seems likely that travelers will carry their documentation in a digital wallet or as a paper QR code that can be scanned.
In an interview with the New York Times, Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary general of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, says that consistent rules are necessary to restart the tourism economy.
Tourism accounts for approximately 10 percent of the global GDP and a similar share of jobs, according to CNN, making the recovery of the travel industry all the more vital for the world's economic health.

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