The demand to travel out of the country was growing by the day as South Africans awaited the introduction of a digital vaccine passport announced earlier this month.
On Tuesday, various travel associations met during the virtual Big Connect event hosted by Big Ambitions to discuss issues relevant to travelling outside of South Africa.
Last week, the United Kingdom put South Africa on their “red list” of countries with travellers entering England.
Lars Thykier, chair of World Travel Agents Associations Alliance (WTAAA) and director of the European Travel Agents’ and
Tour Operators’ Associations (ECTAA), said the option of no passport, no travel tended to influence people’s attitudes towards vaccine passports.
“From our perspective, it’s the right way to go if you want to travel because it makes it a lot easier,” Thykier said.
He said the document would include one of three options. Either you have had Covid and were immune for a while, or you have been tested, or you have the full vaccine.
“If you look at the yellow fever documentation required by some countries, it’s the same thing,” Thykier added.
He said the ECTAA has been pushing hard for a common digital passport to help enhance travel. Otto de Vries, chief executive of the Association of Southern African Travel Agents, said South Africa needed to learn from other countries.
“We are thinking too hard about this in terms of platforms and should focus on the standards we use,” De Vries said.
De Vries said the passport had to have the ability to collect data to put on an application with other relevant data, which could be shared at relevant and appropriate times.
“One thing that must remain in place is the protection of personal info and the ability to make sure it is protected,” he said. Andrew Stark, managing director, Middle East and Africa, for Flight Centre, said there was a demand to travel abroad.
“Demand has been promising, South Africans are tired of being locked down and up. They desperately want to get out,” he said.