How Would A Digital Travel Identity Passport Impact Your Travel?
COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on global travel and as a result has deeply devastated the Travel and Tourism Industry. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), in 2019, travel and tourism supported 330 million people. In 2019, travel and tourism accounted for 1 in 4 new jobs created worldwide in the last 5 years. COVID-19 has had devasting effects by creating a significant decrease in travel, as people were forced to stay home in order to stop the spread of the virus.
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COVID-19 Travel Guidelines for Safe & Seamless Travel Journey Initiative (SSTJ)
COVID-19 has placed many in the Travel and Tourism Industry in uncharted territory and has resulted in a significant decrease in travel. Once travel returns to normal levels, there will be an influx of travelers to prepare for. According to the WTTC, traveler identity and security are critical areas which will aid in the recovery efforts of the Travel Industry. Through the use of contactless biometric technology such as facial recognition, travelers can benefit from an increase in speed at which they are processed at check points, while ensuring that health and safety protocols are met. Contactless technology has allowed the Hotel Industry to keep up with safety regulations as demanded by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the same can be done if biometrics is used in a global capacity to verify identity and health status.
The WTTC and the Safe and Seamless Travel Journey’s (SSTJ) consumer research conducted in 5 European countries and in the United States, found that 4 in 5 international and domestic travelers would be willing to share their photographs in advance of travel in order to speed up the travel process. The WTTC is recommending a global guideline related to travel identity, security and safety protocols by utilizing biometric technology and other COVID-19 hotel technology, in an effort to prepare the Travel Industry for future crises. This standard can be adopted by creating a single digital identity for each traveler, which would contain their biographic data, credit card information, travel history and history of immunity or vaccinations. It could be seen as a health passport where biometrics is used to verify identity and to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 and other viruses.
The Initiative’s goal is to help the Travel and Tourism Industry rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic by providing travelers with a seamless check in experience, that also meets safety standards by utilizing biometric technology. Travelers will no longer be required to present documents to verify their identities. Travelers can instead upload their information prior to travel, which allows border authorities to authenticate and pre-clear travelers in advance of arrival. The use of facial recognition can then be used to verify identity against the exiting information. Travelers experience reduced checks points and ease in their travel journey, while ensuring that safety and security requirements are met.
How Would the Creation of a Single Digital Global Travel Identity Work?
Travelers sharing paperwork at various check points during the course of their travel, exposes both travelers and employees to health risks. Biometrics and digital identities enable efficient identity verification that is safe and secure. The use of facial recognition allows border agencies to match passenger images to those held in government databases.
- Travelers create a single digital identity containing their biographic data, their credit card information and information regarding immunity and vaccinations.
- Travelers can enroll early in the traveler journey, so they can use their digital identity across their end-to-end journey.
- Digital identity management is done in a decentralized manner, where the traveler maintains, and controls access to their information.
- Travelers’ digital identity data is governed by a globally agreed-upon set of standards, allowing for exchange of information across governments and all sectors of the Travel & Tourism Industry.
- Privacy standards are continually developed and enhanced with guidelines to ensure they are of the highest quality.
The Benefits of Adopting a Single Digital Global Travel Identity
Removes Need for Quarantine and Travel Bans
According to the WTTC, adopting a global digital travel identity would be highly beneficial to all sectors of the Travel and Tourism Industry, including the Hospitality sector. A digital travel identity replaces the need for mandatory quarantine and would also remove the need for travel bans as a result of COVID-19. Travelers would be able to verify identity and health status prior to traveling and would be able to show proof of a COVID-19 test or of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Reduces the Spread of Viruses
Having the ability to identify infected travelers and remove them from the travel system reduces the risk of spreading COVID-19 and other viruses that may result in future pandemics that would have an impact on global travel. Biometric technology provides a contactless experience that protects travelers and employees.
Promote Economic Growth
Establishing a global, cross-industry policy would allow more people to travel, more securely and would promote growth within the Travel and Tourism Industry. A COVID-19 related travel policy would allow the Travel Industry to rebound from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Enhanced Travel Experience
Travelers can upload information prior to travel and can experience the ease of going through security check points without presenting information to verify identities and health status. Travelers value efficiency and this can lead to an improvement in customer satisfaction.
Adopting a digital travel identity initiative would reduce fraudulent activities such as stolen identities, by using biometrics to verify identity against government issued documents.
Benefits for the Hotel Industry
The adoption of the global digital identity initiative is beneficial for all sectors of the Travel and Tourism Industry, including the Hotel Industry. Hotels can eliminate the lengthy check in process for guests by implementing biometric solutions that utilizes pre-verified traveler information. Eliminating the long transactional aspects of the check-in process, allows hotel employees to deliver a more personalized guest experience. Hotels can also prioritize the cleaning of rooms based on the anticipated arrival of guests, from information received through digital travel identity.