Thailand’s Prime Minister has told a press briefing that he has commissioned a study to look into vaccine passports as the country seeks to revive the tourism industry battered by his governments coronavirus pandemic response.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said his government has been mulling the idea of so-called “vaccine passports”, but no target date has been set and tourism operators have complained about lost revenue.
He also said his government will proceed with caution, waiting to see how effective vaccines are first in preventing the spread of Covid-19.
“I have already ordered the study into vaccine passports so we can be prepared, however it’s also important that we proceed in line with other countries,” Gen Prayut said.
Our government is looking into giving people who are vaccinated in Thailand vaccine passports. The passports could be then used for international travel, he said.
Authorities will meet next week to discuss procedures into obtaining vaccine passports. The study will also look at removing quarantine for tourists with “vaccine passports” entering Thailand.
Previously, government officials have said vaccinated visitors could have mandatory quarantine cut from two weeks to three days or waived entirely.
The global vaccine rollout has given hope to the pandemic-hit tourism industry, which directly makes up about 11% of the economy, and up to 20% by some calculations.
In 2020, Thailand’s tourism revenue slumped to 332 billion baht from 1.91 trillion baht a year earlier, as visitor numbers plunged by 83% due to the Thai governments response to the coronavirus pandemic.
In order to re-open borders without quarantine and restart aviation the Thai governments need to be confident that they are effectively mitigating the risk of importing COVID-19.
This above all means having accurate information on passengers’ COVID-19 health status.
IATA Travel Pass Initiative
Informing passengers on what tests, vaccines and other measures they require prior to travel, details on where they can get tested and giving them the ability to share their tests and vaccination results in a verifiable, safe and privacy-protecting manner is the key to giving governments the confidence to open borders.
To address this challenge IATA is working on launching the IATA Travel Pass, a digital platform for passengers.
The main priority is to get people traveling again safely. In the immediate term that means establishing confidence in governments that systematic pre-departure COVID-19 testing can work as a replacement for quarantine requirements. And that will eventually develop into a vaccine program.
The IATA Travel Pass is a solution for both. It is built it in modules as an industry solution based on open-source standards. It can be used in combination with other providers or as an end-to-end solution. The most important thing is that it is responsive to industry needs while enabling a competitive market. Read more….