(CNN) — The words “vaccine passport” have a reassuring ring to them, perhaps conjuring up the image of a sleek, embossed document with watermarked pages and official stamps of approval. Flourished at border controls, it would open travel doors that, for so many of us, have been closed by Covid-19.
Some destinations — including the Seychelles, Cyprus and Romania — have already lifted quarantine requirements to visitors able to prove they’re vaccinated. Others, such as Iceland and Hungary, have opened up to people who’ve recovered from Covid-19.
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This raises the prospect that proof of inoculation or immunity could be the golden ticket to rebooting travel and seems good news for people eager to book summer vacations after months of lockdown, particularly as vaccine rollouts gather pace.
They could open up the restaurants, bars, cinemas and other leisure and entertainment facilities whose closure over the past year have left many teetering on the edge of — or already victim to — financial ruin.
Tech companies such as IBM are also trying to get in on the act, developing smartphone apps or digital wallets into which individuals can upload details of Covid-19 tests and vaccinations. These are gaining support from major travel industry players.
This week, Zurab Pololikashvili, the secretary general of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, called for the global adoption of vaccination passports as part of wider measures he said were essential to get the world in motion once again.
“The rollout of vaccines is a step in the right direction, but the restart of tourism cannot wait,” he told a meeting of the UNWTO’s Global Tourism Crisis Committee in Madrid. “Vaccines must be part of a wider, coordinated approach that includes certificates and passes for safe cross-border travel.”