Although it may have seemed unthinkable at one point, an end to the COVID-19 pandemic may finally be in sight – especially given the vaccines that are currently in the process of rolling out around the world.
As countries begin to open back up again, tourists are returning their thoughts to vacations, traveling and generally just returning to some sense of the normalcy that we lost over the last year. Of course, there are also many big questions currently up in the air – with the biggest involving what vaccine or other healthcare information will be required in various places moving forward.
What follows is an examination of the idea of COVID passports – crucial documents that could work to let travelers check into hotels, visit tourist attractions and much, much more.
COVID Passports: An Overview
Also commonly referred to as vaccine passports, COVID passports are exactly what they sound like – documentation that you can use to prove that you’ve either recently received your vaccine, or that at the very least you tested negative for COVID-19.
By design, these could allow people to not only freely travel but also attend concerts and sporting events and more – all without the need for additional testing. To that end, the term “passport” itself may be something of a misnomer as it’s a different concept than needing a passport to travel to a foreign country. Experts agree that terms like “Health Verification Travel Card” may be more in line with how the process will actually work.
Will Hotels Require Some Form of Proof of Vaccination?
The answer to this question will vary wildly depending on exactly which location you’re talking about. Since many hotels have suffered enormously during the pandemic, they’ll want to do everything they can to encourage people to book with them – thus reducing the chances that they would ask for this documentation.
Health certificates are already being experimented with by many hotel chains, however. These systems would integrate directly into the hotel’s normal booking system and would give someone a chance to upload or share their vaccine information before a reservation can be made.
What Kind of Events May Require COVID Passports in the Future?
Any event where thousands of people meet would be made possible again by COVID passports – including sports, concerts, conventions and more. All told, this will allow both the tourism and hospitality industries to recover as quickly as possible, welcoming back visitors at full capacity rather than at the (unsustainable) reduced numbers they’ve been dealing with since the pandemic began.
How Can COVID Passports Be Scanned?
This, too, will depend on things like national regulations. More often than not, scanning will happen via a QR code on a smartphone or mobile device. Other options could include combining ID scanning and national health cards into one process.
In the end, COVID-19 passports are still a new concept – meaning that there are a lot of questions we don’t necessarily have easy answers to right now. However, one thing is for certain – this is another important step towards getting our lives back to the way they were prior to March 2020, which couldn’t have come along at a better time.