IATA Travel Pass in the Philippines
Looking back to 2020…
When people hear 2020, top of the head word associations are COVID-19, lockdowns and quarantines. If asked, most people will most probably mark March and April 2020 as the longest and extremely confusing months. February 2020 going to March 2020 felt like an indestructible door suddenly slamming tightly shut with ten monsters going ballistic so the only option is to keep running and moving forward albeit in a very jagged and rambling pattern. A partial congratulations because a year in and people seemed to have powered through. Keeping in mind the losses and downturns, but also acknowledging the painstaking efforts and unending fortitude of everyone in 2020, 2021 seem to be looking up, as vaccines are rolled out and lockdowns are becoming less strict.
Moving forward to 2021…
With the easing of restrictions, one of the activities most looked forward to is travelling, be it domestic or international. This is not a statement thrown for conversation, this is according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). In a survey carried out in February 2021, people are now more inclined to travel given the improvements and precautions taken by everyone in the travel industry. Compared to a similar survey conducted in September 2020, respondents in the most recent survey have expressed more willingness to abide by regulations and manage the risks of travelling.
New normal and IATA Travel Pass
Optimism in the travel industry is further bolstered by the introduction of additional measures to ensure that health and safety protocols are strictly implemented. The best example is the introduction of the IATA Travel Pass. For a brief background, the IATA Travel Pass is aimed to be the primary contactless app to be used to manage and verify the required health and vaccine information in compliance to various organizational requirements. In the new normal setting, this will greatly help travellers feel more secure, help the travel industry get back to its feet and help governments ensure that safety protocols are kept intact. This initiative have taken up the better part of 2020 and IATA has even made initial internal tests to make sure that the Travel Pass is reliable and practical in the operation environment. To date, some airlines have successfully conducted tests on actual international flights in the first quarter of 2021 and more are scheduled to test out the travel pass in trial flights.
IATA Travel Pass in the Philippines
The success of the IATA Travel Pass has already caught the attention of the country. Although the Philippines has re-opened a few of its domestic destinations in the last quarter of 2020, the Travel and Tourism industry is still reeling from the blow it took from the pandemic. As a sought after tourist destination, the pandemic restrictions brought significant losses, livelihoods suffered, jobs were lost and the whole industry just came to a downturn. That is why the introduction of international travel is a welcome relief not only to revive the industry but also to give people the refreshing experience of travelling. With the IATA Travel Pass, everyone will be one step closer to travelling and vacationing. Hopefully, with the Department of Tourism working on the proposal for the IATA Travel Pass, travelling will not only mean going out as a tribute to do errands but it can also be travelling to visit family and friends or travelling to get that much needed R&R without the guilt of becoming a super spreader or a virus carrier.
Preparing for take-off
Presently, people are pretty much familiar with COVID-19 guidelines and are more or less used to the new normal. Also, after so many trials and errors, safety procedures are more standardized or at least less chaotic compared to last year. And as a gigantic milestone, since the approval of the available vaccines, more and more people are getting vaccinated. All these factors makes the likelihood of easing international borders restriction more and more possible. From a superlatively uncertain 2020, we have now emerged in the potentials of 2021. While waiting for these potentials, the key things to always remember are face masks, lots and lots and lots of sanitizer and hopefully, more roll-out of vaccines.
International Air Transport Association. (2020, November 23). IATA Travel Pass key to reopening borders safely [Press Release]. https://www.iata.org/en/pressroom/pr/2020-11-23-01/
International Air Transport Association. (2021, March 09). Travelers gaining confidence [Press Release]. https://www.iata.org/en/pressroom/pr/2021-03-09-01/
Philippine News Agency (2021, March 06). DoT to enhance resiliency of PH destinations. In https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1132768
Balinbin, A.L. (2021, April 11). DoT to propose adoption of IATA Travel Pass to IATF. BusinessWorld.
Darron, E. (Photographer). Sunset seen from a plane [Photograph]. Retrieved from https://unsplash.com/photos/oCdVtGFeDC0
Winkler, M. (Photographer). [Untitled Photograph of face mask and mobile phone]. Retrieved from https://unsplash.com/photos/f2CPZZ2qcKs