→ Your Passport Please. Beep! Mentioned in a perfunctory fashion in the last issue of Connect Travel’s INBOUND Report, the concept of a passport whose principal feature, add-on or substitute for some other aspect of the document focuses on COVID-19, is fast gaining in favor worldwide. Some late developments on the issue:
—China has launched a health certificate program for Chinese citizens travelling internationally, one of the first countries in the world to issue a “virus passport.” The digital certificate, which shows a user’s vaccination status and virus test results, is available for Chinese citizens via a program on Chinese social media platform WeChat that was launched earlier this month. The certificate is being rolled out “to help promote world economic recovery and facilitate cross-border travel,” a foreign ministry spokesman said. The certificate, which is also available in paper form, is currently only for use by Chinese citizens and is not yet mandatory.
—By week’s end, Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA) said it would join other Asia Pacific carriers (Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines and Air New Zealand) in trialing the IATA Travel Pass health verification app. There was no firm word at the time on when the process will be used. “With constant changes to international travel requirements adding to the complexity of travel, IATA Travel Pass enables passengers to easily verify whether they meet the COVID-19 testing requirements of their destination and share their test results in a secure way,” said Yuji Hirako, president and CEO of ANA.
—British Travelers Like the Idea: One in two of the UK population are in favor of mandatory health passports for international travel—this according to a new survey of nearly 6,000 Britons 18 and over for YouGov. Support is overwhelmingly among older adults, with backing among younger people half the rate of those over 65. Here are some other notes from the YouGov survey:
• One in five (18 percent) said health passports should not be required because they would be “discriminatory” and “not necessary,” “risk personal data” or present an obstacle to travel.
• Also, one in five (19 percent) said they did not know enough about health passports, and 9 percent just did not know.
• Support was highest among those over 65 at 72 percent and was 60 percent among those aged 50 to 65.
• Even so, just one in three adults aged 18-24 (35 percent) supported health passports and 45 percent of 25-to-29-year-olds.
• The survey defined a health passport as “indicating Covid-19 immunity” which could include a negative test result or a positive antibody test.
—Americans, too: Another online survey—this one for The Points Guy website—told us that about three quarters of potential travelers say they would be as likely, or more likely, to travel if a destination or travel provider required proof of the COVID-19 vaccine. About half of those travelers in the online survey said they are more likely to travel if there are vaccine requirements, and 31 percent said they are much more likely.
Melanie Lieberman, the senior travel editor at The Points Guy, explained that, “the 49 percent who said they’re more likely to choose a destination or travel provider (airlines, tour operators, cruise lines and others) are almost certainly reassured by the measure.”
→ NTTO Launches COVID-19 Travel Industry Monitor—a one-stop shop of key indicators for the travel and tourism industry. Just launched is the COVID-19 Travel Industry Monitor, a user-friendly web platform that brings key health, economic and travel data together in one place. It was built to help businesses, policy makers and communities stay informed on the state of the travel industry and to plan recovery efforts. Developed by the National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO), part of the Industry and Analysis Unit of the International Trade Administration, the COVID-19 Travel Industry Monitor tracks a number of indicators important for the performance of the travel and tourism sector in the United States in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic: COVID-19 Cases, International Visitation, Travel Indicators, Travel in Trade, Business and Consumer Sentiment, and Key Economic Indicators. The data displayed in the Monitor come from various agencies of the Federal Government (Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Transportation, U.S. Census Bureau, etc.) and the private sector (Smith Travel Research, Arrivalist, The Conference Board, etc.). For more information, visit https://travel.trade.gov/.
→ “Zoom fatigue” is real. Now that we are engaged in regular meetings by video web-conferencing, we’ve come to fully grasp the reality that it can be exhausting, particularly to do it for more than an hour or so. As I’ve observed previously, psychologists note that online interaction makes it harder to read cues and promotes a greater degree of distracting self-awareness. In short, it can be taxing on our attention because our attention is working in different ways.”—from an article by Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm for the law firm of Holland & Hart LLP. Click here to read the complete article.
→ Jazz Aviation Becomes Sole Operator of Air Canada Express Aircraft. Following a review and a revised Capacity Purchase Agreement (CPA) with Jazz Aviation LP agreement, Air Canada will transfer the operation of its fleet from Embraer E175 to Jazz from Sky Regional and Jazz will become the sole operator of Air Canada Express services. The CPA reviews are subject to Jazz reaching an agreement with the International Airline Pilots Association. If this condition is met, the CPA will be modified retroactively to January 1, 2021. According to the latest data—prior to the agreement—Sky Regional flew to 48 destinations in Canada and more than 20 in the U.S. “Air Canada is consolidating its regional flights with Jazz in response to the current devastating impact of COVID-19 on the airline industry. This necessary realignment of our regional services will help Air Canada achieve efficiencies and reduce operating costs and cash consumption by consolidating its regional operations with a single provider. Additionally, by streamlining the regional fleet, this agreement will also position Air Canada to operate more competitively with a single carrier when traffic returns after the pandemic,” said Richard Steer, Senior Vice President of Operations and Express Carriers.
→ Hornblower Group has announced that it has finalized its purchase of the failed cruise excursion seller ShoreTrips and will revive the company under the same name with “support” from its founders, Barry and Julie Karp. Hornblower last month won a court-observed bid to buy ShoreTrips’ assets for $1.8 million, free and clear of all responsibility for debts. Milwaukee-based ShoreTrips was put up for sale after the Karps last year filed for receivership under the Wisconsin state alternative to federal bankruptcy protection. In a press release announcing the close of the sale, Barry Karp said the companies “share the same values of delivering one-of-a-kind experiences and that the sale represented “the best outcome for us, for the future of ShoreTrips, for our devoted team of core staff members and for our many loyal travel advisors and their clients.” A Hornblower spokeswoman said only that ShoreTrips “will be run by Hornblower, with Karps as support.”
→ Golfing in Manhattan? Launched in England in 2016, Swingers, an indoor mini-golf and saloon, is coming to New York City. The British company, which currently operates two locations in London, said it will open a location in New York’s Flatiron District later this summer. For more details, read here.
→ From the ITB Newsroom: Just because there was no face-to-face, live edition of ITB this year (March 9-12) in Berlin, such did not mean an absence of the plethora of reports, studies and news releases that usually warrant a concentration of news media channels that cover the event. A sample of the type of information revealed through this year’s event told us this: “Around 70 percent of those surveyed in Germany, the US, and China are thinking about private trips this year. Specifically, 37 percent of Germans, 42 percent of Americans, and 66 percent of Chinese are planning one or more trips. Close to 25 percent of respondents in Germany and the US and over 35 percent in China also believe they will spend more money on traveling over the next 12 months than during the same period to date.”
For more on this and other reports, visit here.