Philippine tourism

Philippines eyes adopting IATA COVID-19 digital travel pass

Aika Rey
Philippines eyes adopting IATA COVID-19 digital travel pass

BACK HOME. Repatriated overseas Filipino workers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 on December 14, 2020.

Rappler

The Philippine government has yet to determine when the travel pass will be adopted

The Philippine government is eyeing the adoption of a digital travel pass, which would signal the opening of borders to foreign travelers.

While Tourism Secretary Bernadette Puyat welcomed the effort by global airline body International Air Transport Association (IATA), she said that it will be adopted “when the time is right.”

“Once the country’s adoption of the IATA Travel Pass is put into motion, the DOT (Department of Tourism) hopes to safely reopen our tourist destinations to international visitors and revive the tourism industry as a whole. But this will be done only when the time is right,” Puyat said in a statement on Wednesday, April 7.

IATA developed the Travel Pass app to boost governments’ confidence in opening borders. With the app, users can create a digital COVID-19 passport where requirements for passengers – such as testing and vaccination – can be easily verified by authorities.

The app includes a registry of health requirements as well as a registry of testing and vaccination centers. It also allows laboratories to securely send test results or vaccination certificates to passengers.

“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.

“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 added.

As of Sunday, April 4, over 20 airlines, including Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Singapore Airlines, have tested the pass.

In Southeast Asia, Singapore already allowed the use of the IATA Travel Pass starting May.

The Philippines has yet to accept foreign tourists since it started to impose a lockdown in March 2020.

For a time in 2020, Manila allowed foreigners with work, investor, and long-term visas to enter the country.

With the skyrocketing COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, the national government again restricted entry into the country in March 2021. – Rappler.com

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.