Key things to watch for in 2022:
- The Red Sea Project will open to tourists: Phase 1 of Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Project will be operational in 2022, although expansion will continue until it reaches the planned 8,000-room capacity expected by 2030.
- Cruise industry gets out of the doldrums: After sinking in 2020-21, cruise bookings for 2022 have picked up as vaccine passports and health passes allow the reopening of international travel, albeit with increased documentation.
- Tourist taxes will add to higher travel costs: Increased focus on sustainability will see some major tourist destinations cap daily visitor numbers (notably in the Italian city of Venice) or impose a tourist tax. Thailand will impose a US$15 tax in 2022; New Zealand is likely to adopt a similar approach.
- Thailand will experiment to win back tourists: The South-east Asian country hopes that scrapping quarantine requirements will lead to a strong recovery in international arrivals in 2022. Its success will be good news for the tourism-dependent region, but we expect any recovery to be modest and significantly below pre-pandemic levels.
Climate regulations will add to travel costs
In 2022 companies across the tourism industry will come under increased scrutiny from regulators, consumers and investors to eradicate—or at least minimise—their contributions to climate change. Airlines will be required to reduce emissions under the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), which faces its first triennial review in November 2022.
We expect airline emissions to remain below the baseline in 2022, owing to depressed demand for international travel, which will spare them from incurring carbon-offset costs at a time when carbon- credit prices are surging. Complying with CORSIA will, however, still add to operating costs, especially as fuel prices (which account for around one-quarter of their total costs) continue to rise in 2022. Amid low demand, airlines will need to increase ticket prices in a bid to restore their finances.
Even so, the airline industry will rack up another combined loss, while debt-servicing costs will increase. Cost-cutting measures will intensify. Eventually, airline mergers are likely, with knock-on effects for regional airports (although this is not our core forecast for 2022).
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Travel & Tourism sector worked hard to optimise travel processes and create an efficient and secure travel experience by introducing automation and passenger self-service solutions, such as electronic boarding cards available on a smartphone, self-service bag drop facilities and automated border e-gates. The emergence of COVID-19, however led to the reintroduction of manual processes and labour intensive examination of paperwork. To complete the check-in requirements, agents would have to inspect COVID-19 documentation that was unfamiliar, non-standardised and complex.
To address this challenge, the use of digitally verifiable COVID-19 certificates and a national Digital Travel Portal could enable governments to pre-approve travellers and confirm they meet a destination country COVID-19 health requirements and to electronically capture contact tracing information. Such an approach achieves a secure, interoperable, and scalable process that meets the needs of governments of protecting their borders, as well as the needs of the sector for smooth and efficient processes.
In this context, the following four digital solutions should be implemented:
- Digitally Verifiable COVID-19 Certificates
- Digital Travel Portal
- Digital Connections (between government & industry)
- Digital Travel Authorisation Certificates (TAC)
The EU Digital COVID Certificate (EU DCC) was launched across Europe on 1st July 2021 and includes three types of digital certificates, for demonstrating proof of vaccination, proof of a negative test result or proof of recovery from COVID-19.
Originally for the 27 EU Member States, the EU has recently opened up their programme allowing countries outside of Europe to join the EU DCC scheme if they agree to follow the EU certificate standards9. In October 2021 over 40 countries were integrated into the EU DCC system enabling interoperable digital COVID-19 certificates for vaccination, test and recovery between all European and Non-European participants of the scheme.
SMART Health Cards are a private sector led initiative developed by the Vaccine Credential Initiative (VCI), which is a large coalition of health and technology organisations committed to using open standards to provide individuals with a digitally verifiable copy of their vaccination record. This can be very useful in countries with decentralised healthcare systems and in countries without national immunisation databases. SMART Health Cards were successfully launched across the USA in summer 2021 and enables organisations administering vaccines or tests, such as pharmacies and laboratories, to issue trusted and digitally verifiable COVID-19 certificates. SMART Health Cards were also adopted by Canada in October 2021 as their standardised form of proof for COVID-19 vaccination.
The Digital Infrastructure for Vaccination Open Credentialing (DIVOC)11 is an open source digital platform for the management and rollout of a large scale COVID-19 vaccination programme with digital certification. DIVOC is freely available to all countries, but was created in India and is maintained by the eGov Foundation (an Indian not for profit organisation). The DIVOC solution contains four modules – an “Orchestration” module for the maintenance of a vaccination programme (such as approved vaccines and a registry of official vaccinators), a “Registration & Appointment” module for users to book vaccination appointments, a “Certification” module which has the ability to generate digitally verifiable COVID-19 vaccination certificates and a “Feedback” module that enables users to be able to provide feedback, such as on any side effects experienced after vaccination. The largest implementation of DIVOC is within the Indian CoWIN digital vaccination platform which has issued more than 900 million digital vaccination certificates (as of October 2021). DIVOC has also been adopted by Sri Lanka and the Philippines for their national digital vaccination certificates.
The ICAO ‘Visible Digital Seal (VDS-NC) for Travel Related Health Proofs’ was adapted from an existing mechanism used for the verification of emergency travel documents and non-electronic visas and was developed to meet the ICAO Civil Aviation Recovery Taskforce (CART) framework for the validation of testing and vaccination records that could be used in international aviation. The ICAO VDS- NC has been developed in partnership with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and Australia has adopted the ICAO VDS-NC for its digital vaccination certificates.
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Inspect labels for expiration dates, safety seals, and worn or rubbed off labels. Labels can indicate counterfeit products that may put you or your loved ones in danger or make people sick.
Travel to England from another country during coronavirus (COVID-19)