Outrigger Hotels and Resorts

Published on Monday, July 19, 2021

WTTC: inconsistent vaccine recognition hampering travel recovery

The restart of international travel could be seriously delayed without full global reciprocal recognition of all approved Covid-19 vaccines, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) said.

WTTC issued a warning following concerns travellers face being turned away at borders because countries don't have a common list of internationally recognised and approved Covid-19 vaccines.

This comes just days after a number of British holidaymakers, who had been administered the Indian Covishield batch of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, were rejected entry into Malta despite the drug being chemically identical to the UK-made vaccine.

Over the past few weeks reports of holidaymakers facing obstacles to entry have been on the rise, with some even being prevented from boarding their flights to destinations.

Virginia Messina, WTTC Senior Vice President, said: "Reciprocal recognition of all vaccine types and batches is essential if we are to avoid any further unnecessary and damaging delay to restarting international travel.

"The failure of countries to agree on a common list of all approved and recognised vaccines is of huge concern to WTTC. We know every day travel is curbed, more cash-strapped businesses face even greater strain, pushing them ever more to the brink of bankruptcy."

"We can avoid this by having a fully recognised list of all the approved vaccines - and vaccine batches - which should be the key to unlocking international travel. It will also give holidaymakers and travellers the confidence they need to book trips, flights and cruises."

The lack of international coordination to agree on a list of fully approved vaccines  of all batches, is creating yet another major obstacle  for the restart of international travel.

Reports of travellers being turned away because they have the 'wrong' vaccine batches or 'unrecognised' vaccines have fuelled concern from consumers, deterring them from booking, WTTC says.

The plea for reciprocal recognition for all vaccines and vaccine batches forms part of WTTC's four new guidelines which are aimed at safely resuming international mobility and saving the millions of jobs and livelihoods which depend on this sector, while kick-starting the global economic recovery.


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