SITA is trying to encourage more governments to use its Digital Travel Declaration solution. The company is hoping that the technology will help standardize international travel and entry requirements during the pandemic, which will in turn help the travel industry recover from COVID-19 more quickly.
The SITA Digital Travel Declaration debuted in October of 2020, and allows travelers to submit health and travel documents like vaccine records and negative COVID-19 tests before getting to the airport. Those documents can then be verified in advance, so the passenger can enjoy an expedited screening process when they get to the airport. Assuming that everything is in order, the passenger will also receive a response from the government that lets them know that they have indeed secured all of the necessary documentation and are approved to travel.
Now SITA is making the Digital Travel Declaration available for free to any interested government for the next 12 months. The offer covers the entry version of the platform, and takes advantage of SITA’s Electronic Travel Authorization portfolio. The tech makes it easier to track entry requirements, since they are all consolidated in one application.
“In many cases, onerous health requirements are discouraging travelers from flying or leading to long lines at airports,” said SITA Airports and Borders CEO David Lavorel. “Making Digital Travel Declaration freely available to governments will be an investment in the recovery of our industry, and we hope will go some way towards addressing the challenges we all face today.”
As it stands, 38 of the 50 countries surveyed in a recent IATA study currently have form of COVID-19 entry restriction. The WTTC has also indicated that the recovery of the travel industry is vital for the recovery of the economy more generally, since travel and tourism accounted for 10.3 percent of the global GDP (25 percent of all new jobs) in 2019.
SITA noted that the Digital Travel Declaration can be modified to account for any health crises and travel requirements that could crop up in the future. The company has repeatedly argued that digital transformation should be a key part of the industry’s long-term recovery plan.
November 2, 2021 – by Eric Weiss