Friday, June 4, 2021

WTTC Welcomes Introduction of COVID-19 Vaccination Passport by 7 EU Countries

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has welcomed the COVID-19 passport introduction by the European Member states.

Virginia Messina, Senior Vice President, acknowledges the importance of all member state approval of the COVID passport, reports.

“WTTC is delighted with the news that Greece, Germany, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Denmark, Croatia and Poland have launched the new Digital COVID Certificate well in advance of the planned July 1 rollout of the programme across the 27-nation bloc,” Messina said.

According to President Messina, the new document will allow third countries’ citizens to visit EU countries with proof of vaccination, a negative test, or a positive antibody test. This initiative will help international travel to revive, which will happen if the Member States follow suit on July 1.

“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global Travel & Tourism sector has been devastating, not only in terms of the millions of jobs lost but also the sector’s contribution to GDP. Unless international travel is restored soon, this will have a further economic impact and delay the global recovery,” Messina said.

She also noted that the pandemic had a genuinely negative impact on the people whose lives depend on the tourism sector.

Starting on June 1, Poland, Germany, Greece, Croatia, Bulgaria, Denmark, and Czechia started issuing the first EU COVID-19 passports, a month ahead of the deadline, in a bid to ease travelling across Europe. Meanwhile, the remaining countries are to launch the digital passport once all functions are deployed nationwide. Since May 10, 22 countries have successfully tested the certificate gateway.

The political agreement of May 20 will be effective until July 1, when the regulation of issuing COVID-19 passports will start applying.

The initial proposal for establishing a Digital Green Certificate was approved in mid-March. The document aims for EU Member states’ citizens to move freely within the bloc and also restore travel for vaccinated tourists from third countries.

All people who have been vaccinated for the COVID-19, recovered from the virus, or tested negative for Coronavirus are eligible to apply for a COVID-19 passport. The document will include a QR code and will be issued in digital and printed format.

A typical COVID-19 passport will contain all information about the holder such as first and last name, date of birth, issuing state, QR code, and detailed information if the traveller is vaccinated (vaccine product and manufacturer, number of doses, and date of vaccination).

For tested travellers, the passport will indicate the type of test, date and time of test, test centre, and result, whereas for travellers who recovered from the virus, the document will show the positive test result date, certificate’s issuer, date of issuance and document’s validity date.

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