The digital travel pass will “go live” in the Middle East in the coming weeks, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said Thursday, as Europe and the US relax travel restrictions.
Countries around the world are racing to adopt digital certificates in order to unlock an expected revival in international tourism after the coronavirus pandemic crippled the aviation industry for more than a year.
There is no one vaccine certification system universally accepted or recognized so far, though IATA’s travel pass has earned popularity among the Gulf’s giant carriers.
“We have received very positive feedback on the IATA travel pass,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general, in a briefing on Thursday.
“It will go live in the next couple of weeks with a number of carriers in the Middle East region,” he added, without specifying which airlines.
Gulf heavyweights Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways were among the first companies to start testing the app in January, followed by several other global carriers, including Singapore Airlines.
IATA’s pass is a mobile app that would enable passengers to create a “digital passport” to give proof of their testing and vaccination history that can be shared with airlines and immigration officials.
Last month, EU leaders welcomed the introduction of a bloc-wide Covid-19 pass that they hope will unlock a summer surge in tourism. On Tuesday, the US eased its warnings against travel to dozens of countries, including Japan.