Canada Association of Tourism Employees

Confusion over vaccine certificates hinders journey restoration

  • Vaccines have been hailed as a travel aid and glimmer of hope for the industry.
  • Fragmented rules and a lack of mutual agreements continue to limit travel.
  • Travelers are confused about how to report their vaccination status.

The lack of an internationally recognized vaccine certification system could hinder travel recovery as many travelers are confused about quarantine requirements and travel restrictions. With different rules, some may choose to travel domestically, taking a blow to destinations that rely on international visits.

Confusion about vaccination certificates could hinder recovery from travel

Vaccines have been hailed as a travel aid and glimmer of hope for the industry. However, fragmented regulations and the lack of mutual agreements continue to limit travel, with travel restrictions being the second largest barrier to travel for 55% of respondents in a recent industry survey.

Travelers were confused about how to indicate their vaccination status with different rules for each destination. For some destinations, travelers have to go through several hurdles to prove their status and when traveling to numerous countries the process is often different. While the restrictions appear to have been relaxed, the complexity of vaccination records will continue to be an obstacle.

Different nations dictate different rules for detecting vaccinations, from paper documents to digital records. Digital records are not easy to obtain in some countries and add complexity for travelers that could cause them to rethink their plans.

Evidence of vaccination seems to be an afterthought when introducing the vaccine. The lack of digitized records in some countries, including the US, makes proving vaccination status a hassle. The IATA passport was hailed as an industry solution, but it was poorly adopted and state integration was limited. With other vendors entering the room, it has created a fragmented system that requires travelers to upload proof to create a digital passport. Travelers could switch to destinations with simpler rules or opt for domestic travel, causing destinations to miss visitors.

Travelers want simple solutions that require little effort. The industry must work together to integrate a solution that works for all industry stakeholders. Until then, some will shy away from traveling because of the complicated nature of proving vaccination status.

If steps are not taken soon, it could potentially stifle international demand as the rules could be too difficult to understand and destination recovery could stall as a result.

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