Biometric border screening represents “the single biggest opportunity for the Travel & Tourism sector in 2018,” says World Travel & Tourism Council President Gloria Guevara Manzo.
Her comments come ahead of the WTTC Global Summit in April, where the WTTC is likely to place a strong focus on biometric security for the travel industry. Speaking at a recent tourism forum in Spain, Guevara pointed to a growing trend toward biometrics in travel screening, ICAO efforts to promote this technology, and a UN Security Council resolution reached at the end of last year that she characterized as mandating “all governments to employ biometric security for counter terrorism activity”, with the latter in particular presenting “an excellent opportunity for all stakeholders to come together.” Thus the travel and tourism sector must “work with governments and security agencies to agree [on] a standard approach which can be deployed across the travel and tourism system,” Guevara said.
It’s another indication of the growing excitement over biometric border screening, with this week’s World Economic Forum marking the launch of the Known Traveler Digital Identity program, a cross-sector initiative aimed at leveraging biometrics and blockchain technology to establish and verify traveler identities. Canada and the Netherlands are preparing to embark on a trial aimed at realizing this vision, and with the prodding of industry groups like the WTTC and ICAO, more such pilot programs could follow soon.
Meanwhile, with government authorities around the world increasingly going ahead with their own biometric airport screening programs, the travel industry is almost compelled to work collaboratively to ensure that these programs complement the travel experience, and don’t hinder it.
January 26, 2018 – by Alex Perala