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We’re 20 months into this pandemic – why isn’t there a cohesive tourism system yet?

NSthe traffic light system has disappeared (still working red list, now). Many flights were resumed months ago, with the key international routes increase this fall. As of November 8, we can even go back to the United States, the bastion of fearsome strict border guards, fingerprint visas and tricks.

But still, 20 long months after Covid travel, the intricacies of vacationing abroad are eyeing many travelers – including I hate to say it.

As a longtime travel editor and lifelong holiday enthusiast, I’m one of the wave of “early adopters” who jumped on a plane or cruised this summer. as soon as possible. In July, I basked in the blazing Mediterranean sun on the white beaches of the Ionian Islands of Greece for two weeks of island hopping, hitting Lefkada, Kefalonia and Ithaca. In September, I took a long weekend in the city to go to Paris. In October I went to Manchester for an enjoyable weekend of food and culture.

You may have realized that my trips were less than – not more – ambitious when the vaccine was rolled out and the air routes opened up. This is partly because there is no return trip without headaches – from having to pay extra to rebook ferries earlier to get to a pre-flight PCR test appointment in Kefalonia, to a combination of with a two-day trial order running to my Eurostar journey home, a frantic scramble of online shopping and filling out forms, while my traveling companion sipped the last bit of rosé together alone.

Back in the bad old days of locks and silent skies over Heathrow, I was hoping that for sure, by the end of 2021, travel would be less complicated. Instead, for every warning about an “opening” destination, there seem to be heaps of fine print on how and when you can actually go – not to mention how much it will cost you, as well as attachment research and “travmin” will cut your relaxation time.



Back in the days of lockdown and silent skies over Heathrow, I was hoping that for sure, by the end of 2021, travel would be less complicated.

Traveling during this period of epidemic which means endlessly different requirements, admins and anomalies for every country – sometimes for every province area of all countries. There’s plenty of room for error and tension between rides and chaos, even for someone who lives and accepts any rule changes on the sidelines.

Before booking each trip, you should check individual travel requirements on the Foreign Office website, then link to government guidelines for your destination, which often have difficult translations. understanding raises further questions.

Then, several countries’ domestic guides link to the rules and regulations of each island or region – it’s here that, with about 12 web browser tabs open, your vacation will be no more. feeling happy and starting to feel like a chore. The thrill of spontaneous travel is dead.

Take Thailand as an example. This used to be my go-to winter sunbathing spot. From cheap street food to homogenous beautiful beaches and welcoming locals, it always feels like therapy to my bone-chilling British self at this time of year. year. But a 2021 winter ride means pre-registration for Overcoming Thailand, a digital system that has been reported by many to be both confusing and unreliable, with many users not receiving the QR codes it is supposed to deliver quickly enough or at all – sometimes despite having many applications.

Elsewhere, in countries like Germany, the rules about what is allowed and what is prohibited, based on your vaccination status, vary between 16 different German states. Meanwhile, I observed other travelers getting bitten by locals during Covid cases – such as those with winter holidays who booked to Austria, which went into total lockdown on Monday.



There are plenty of opportunities for mistakes, stress and chaos, even for those who live and accept any rule changes on the sidelines.

On top of this booking and travel uncertainty, it seems no one has an eye on making Covid-era travel documents linked and more common for cross-border explorers.

Yes, the EU recently approved a UK Covid card as proof of vaccination, synchronizing our system with their continent-wide system after months of waiting. But the Covid card is still not accessible for travel for those under 16 and countries are now starting stamp the expiration date on the validity of two jabs “fully vaccinated status”, that is, without the booster, we might not be allowed in.

It has never been clearer that we are not – as some of us often call ourselves – “global citizens”.

Some have tried to create a unified system that is easier to understand. Airport technology experts SITA, for example, have come up with their design for an international, contactless”Health passports” for governments around the world, free of charge. The product, called Health Protect, may be just the thing to reduce the number of PDFs, prints, and country-specific apps we need to be simple to use – it allows users to easily choose what parts of their travel wallet they want to share with border officials or hotel front desk at different stages of their journey. But it has yet to be chosen by any country (although it has been tested on a small group of travelers to the UAE and Italy).



It has never been clearer that we are not – as some of us often call ourselves – ‘global citizens’

It’s also not the only company pursuing the idea of ​​a global health wallet. The airborne app has also expanded to include medical documents, with the nifty idea of ​​giving away vaccines elsewhere in the world to each person who uploads their vaccination record; in 2020, the World Economic Forum and the Commons Project, a Swiss nonprofit, announced the launch of CommonPass, designed to allow travelers to bring in their Covid test results. -19 and their vaccine status safely in a standard format that will be immediately recognizable to border officials in the country they enter. But then again, none of these are suggested for widespread adoption, even though it’s been 20 months since this madness began.

It’s not like I’m asking the earth of the travel gods – just the ability to find a place, a unified place for current rules and requirements, and perhaps only a “health passport”. ” or an international app that can store and list Covid- era travmin in a way that is universally accepted.

But until things get a little more logical, my view of Earth looks set to be limited – for the next few months at least.

https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/travel-documents-health-vaccine-passport-b1962907.html We’re 20 months into this pandemic – why isn’t there a cohesive tourism system yet?

JOE HERNANDEZ

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