Travellers are warming up to the “IATA Travel Pass,” an app designed to enhance compliance with health requirements for air passengers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent poll by The International Air Transport Association (IATA).
IATA surveyed 4,700 individuals online in 11 markets between Feb. 15-23, 2021.
The sample size was 500 in the U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Germany, India and Australia, with 300 in Chile, Japan, UAE and Singapore.
Respondents qualified for the survey if they had taken a plane trip in the past 11 months.
“The survey produced very encouraging data indicating traveller willingness to use a secure mobile phone app to manage their travel health credentials,” IATA stated.
Of the results, 89% of respondents believe that governments need to standardize vaccine and testing certificates; 80% are encouraged by the prospect of the IATA Travel Pass app and would use it as soon as available; and 78% will only use a travel credential app if they have full control over their data.
Travel health credentials are already opening borders to some countries, IATA reports, and the notion of a “vaccination passport” is actively being discussed in Canada.
Four of five people IATA surveyed would like to use this technology as soon as it becomes available, the study says.
People also expect that travel health credentials (vaccine or test certificates) must comply with global standards, IATA reports.
Survey respondents also sent a clear message on the importance of data security.
Some 78% of travelers will not use an app if they are not in full control of their data. And about 60% will not use a travel credential app if data is stored centrally.
“We are designing IATA Travel Pass with the traveller in mind. Passengers keep all the data on their mobile devices, and they remain in full control of where that data goes. There is no central database,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, in a statement. “While we are making good progress with numerous trials, we are still awaiting the global standards for digital testing and vaccine certificates.”
“Only with global standards and governments accepting them can we maximize efficiency and deliver an optimum travel experience.”
The IATA Travel Pass is also set to begin trails, with Singapore Airlines on board to test the 'first full deployment' of the pass later this month.
New insight on attitudes
IATA’s survey also provides new insight on attitudes towards travel restrictions and government action.
On travel restrictions, 88% believe that when opening borders, the right balance must be struck between managing COVID-19 risks and getting the economy going again.
85% believe governments should set COVID-19 targets (such as testing capacity or vaccine distribution) to re-open borders.
Furthermore, 84% believe that COVID-19 will not disappear, and that we need to manage its risks while living and traveling normally.
Additionally, 68% agreed that their quality of life has suffered with travel restrictions and 49% believe that air travel restrictions have gone too far
“The top priority of everybody at the moment is staying safe amid the COVID-19 crisis,” said de Juniac. “But it is important that we map a way to being able to re-open borders, manage risks and enable people to get on with their lives.”
That includes the freedom to travel, he said.
“It is becoming clear that we will need to learn to live and travel in a world that has COVID-19. Given the health, social and economic costs of travel restrictions, airlines should be ready to re-connect the world as soon as governments are able to re-open borders,” he said.
“That’s why a plan with measurable milestones is so critical. Without one, how can we be prepared for restart without an unnecessary delay?”
A boost in confidence
IATA’s survey also illustrates that people are becoming more confident in air travel.
Of the participants, 57% expect to be travelling within two months of the pandemic being contained (improved from 49% in September 2020); 72% want to travel to see family and friends as soon as possible (improved from 63% in September 2020); 81% believe that they will be more likely to travel once they are vaccinated.
Moreover, 84% said they will not travel if there is a chance of quarantine at destination (largely unchanged from 83% in September 2020) and 56% believe that they will postpone travel until the economy stabilizes (improved from 65% in September 2020).
Those expecting to travel within a few months of “COVID-19 containment” now account for 57% of survey respondents (improved from 49% in September 2020).
This is supported by vaccine rollout which indicates that 81% of people will be more likely to travel once vaccinated.
And 72% of respondents want to travel as soon as possible after COVID-19 is contained to see friends and family, IATA says.
There are some headwinds in travel trends too, IATA reports.
Roughly 84% of travellers will not travel if it involves quarantine at destination.
And there are still indications that the pick-up in business travel will take time with 62% of respondents saying they are likely to travel less for business even after the virus is contained.
That is, however, a significant improvement from the 72% recorded in September 2020.
“People want to get back to travel, but quarantine is the showstopper. As testing capacity and technology improves and the vaccinated population grows, the conditions for removing quarantine measures are being created.”
“And this points us again towards working with governments for a well-planned re-opening as soon as conditions allow,” said de Juniac.
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