World Travel and Tourism Council has kicked against the trend of Covid-Vaccination as a travel requirement.
Noting that it may lead to discrimination, Vice President, Government affairs at WTT, Lola Uña Cárdenas, stated that vaccination is not the only solution to re-opening borders safely. The council counts airlines, airports, hotels, tour operators and other players in the travel and tourism sectors as its members.
According to the VP, there are some countries that do not even have access to, or have a calendar for vaccinations. “We should not really discriminate against those who wish to travel, but have not been vaccinated.”
Speaking at the virtual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Business Advisory Council public-private dialogue on reopening borders for safe and seamless travel, Ms Cárdenas also appealed to governments to standardize international mobility requirements, given that current rules vary within states and regions. “So, we have, from the private sector, one single request to governments, and we’ve been calling to governments to provide certainty and clarity.”
Although Singapore has not made vaccination a travel requirement for visitors, Minister for Transport of Singapore Ong Ye Kung suggested that jurisdictions work on mutual recognition of vaccination certificates.
He noted differential treatment for vaccinated and non-vaccinated travellers has social and policy implications. “What to do after recognition, is a policy question that can be decided on later, when more evidence and data (on transmissibility) become available.”
The deputy secretary of Singapore’s Ministry of Transport, Han Kok Juan, said Singapore is meanwhile “very closely” monitoring the Covid situation in the Republic as well as in Hong Kong for the impending air travel bubble between the two cities, and is prepared to make adjustments as the situation evolves. He was asked whether the bilateral quarantine-free air-travel bubble would carry on in light of the rising community cases in the Republic recently, but did not give a definitive answer.
About 400 business leaders and government officials from the 21 Apec economies participated in the virtual event.