DOT mulls adoption of COVID-19 digital travel pass for resumption of intâl travel
In this March 2021 photo, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat speaks at a press conference in Antipolo, Rizal.

DOT mulls adoption of COVID-19 digital travel pass for resumption of int’l travel

Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - April 7, 2021 - 9:54pm

MANILA, Philippines – As part of its preparations for the safe resumption of international travel, the Department of Tourism is eyeing to adopt a COVID-19 travel pass as a requirement for passengers visiting the Philippines.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat floated this possibility during the meeting with the International Air Transport Association and local tourism industry leaders.

“This move is parallel with the steps undertaken by other countries that have successfully relaxed borders to visitors amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” Puyat said.

“The DOT recognizes the challenges that the country is currently facing due to the pandemic. The agency’s work is centered on the gradual and careful reopening of tourism destinations to support livelihoods, with health and safety as our top priority. Albeit on its testing stage, the IATA Travel Pass, which offers safe and convenient travel, has so far been helpful to airlines that have adopted it for trial," she also said.

Puyat cited that the travel pass developed by IATA, the trade association for passenger and cargo airlines worldwide, offers a global and standardized solution that will enable the validation and authentication of different country regulations regarding COVID-19 passenger travel requirements.

 As of April 4, more than 20 airlines and airline groups are using Travel Pass technology solutions on a trial basis. 

It has four open-sourced and interoperable modules which can be combined to achieve an end-to-end solution:

 A Travel Pass App that will enable passengers to create a digital passport, verify their tests or vaccinations with regulatory authorities, and submit requirements such as test results or vaccination certificates to facilitate travel;  

  •  A Registry of Health Requirements where passengers can get information on travel, testing, and vaccination requirements;  
  •  A Registry of Testing/Vaccination Centers which enables passengers to find COVID-19 testing centers and laboratories at their departure or arrival locations; and 
  • A Lab App that will allow authorized COVID-19 testing centers and laboratories to securely send test results or vaccination certificates to passengers.  

Puyat said the DOT is hoping to safely reopen the country’s tourist destinations to international visitors once it adopts the IATA Travel Pass.

However, she clarified this will be done “only when the time is right.”

In a press conference last February 17, the tourism chief also expressed hopes that the country will be able to reopen to foreign tourists this year.

She, however, stressed that there is no timeline for this yet given the changing coronavirus protocols.

“We're hoping slowly. We’re hoping sana this year we will be able to open up to other countries not only confined to balikbayans,” Puyat said.

To boost the public’s confidence in Philippine tourism, Puyat said she is in favor of the vaccination pass or passport, a document proving that one has been vaccinated against COVID-19.

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