Tourism Council backs COVID-19 testing as basis for global travel passport

Published January 18, 2021, 2:43 PM

by Hanah Tabios

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) is supporting the testing on departure of all travelers to prevent the spread of the dreaded novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as the volume of travel is slowly picking up. 

(AFP / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The organization also called for a stop to discrimination against unvaccinated travelers.

In a statement, WTTC president and chief operating officer (CEO) Gloria Guevara said comprehensive testing will allow free and safe movement for all. 

“It will take a significant amount of time to vaccinate the global population, particularly those in less advanced countries, or in different age groups. Therefore we should not discriminate against those who wish to travel but have not been vaccinated,” she said.

“Only a tiny percentage of people around the world have so far received the vaccine, whereas there are vast numbers who have not, but who could be tested, show a negative result, and travel safely,” she added.

Guevara said the “common sense approach” will allow the free movement of people who can prove a negative COVID-19 test result, rather than reserve traveling or jobs for a small minority who have been vaccinated. 

She said individuals who belong to the most vulnerable groups should be prioritized, as a blanket vaccination requirement would simply discriminate against non-vulnerable groups, such as Generation X, Z and millennials, who should be able to travel with proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

“WTTC has long been calling for an internationally recognized rapid and cost-effective testing regime at departure points worldwide. This would avoid exporting the virus and aid (in) the restoration of international travel,” she added. 

In the Philippines, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat had earlier backed the proposals for a COVID-19 passport. 

“The Department of Tourism supports initiatives to facilitate international cross border travel with stringent health and safety measures in place,” Puyat said in a statement, citing the passport is vital to reviving international travel as it will restore the trust and confidence of people to travel to other countries once more while assuring receiving countries that their inbound tourists are vaccinated. 

The Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) also welcomed the initiative, saying that it can help streamline entry procedures in tourism destinations. 

 
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