Tourism stakeholders welcome ‘vaccine passport’ as panacea for sector’s recovery

By Luckmore Safuli

PROSPECTS of a vaccine passport have been welcomed as a practical move that will help in combating the spread of the Covid 19 virus while also boosting the tourism industry that has been hit hard by the global pandemic.

What was initially perceived as an unimaginable idea could soon become a reality in the not-too-distant future as many governments ponder on adopting the vaccine passport or vaccine certificates in a bid to restart travel.

Some European countries have already initiated the process of vaccine certificates roll-out and the local tourism sector believes the ‘vaccine passport’ could be the panacea to the battered travel and hospitality industry in Southern Africa.

Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe Matebeleland North  Chairperson Anald Musonza revealed to ZBC News that the move could turn around the prospects of the industry.

For us that are in the industry that has been devastated by this pandemic, it’s a welcome development because we need our business to work and we need the travelling public to have confidence that they will come into safe facilities that are following all the protocols that have been given, he noted.

Founder and Managing Director of IFLY Derek Nseko also said people should remember that the vaccine passport it is not a totally new idea as travellers have in the past been asked to prove that they have been vaccinated against yellow fever when visiting some countries.

I have had a yellow fever certificate for the better part of the past two decades and it has never been a problem, we have never had an issue of fairness around that. I think there is an understanding that it is just a requirement. There is not negative sentiment around that as the entire African have embraced the idea that you need to carry a yellow fever certificate around, he said.

The ambitious push for a vaccine passport by many tourism and aviation stakeholders across the world will mean that a jab will become the ticket to unrestricted travel.

With many experts foreseeing strong demand for open-air and nature-based tourism activities in Africa when most destinations reopen, adventure seekers might have to always remember two important items before journeying to the continent – a face mask and vaccine passport.

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