Vaccines and travel: what you need to know
In the meantime, the airline industry is testing various vaccine passports, which digitally store vaccination records, test results and other health information. Passengers on British Airways flights from London to India can now enter their health information when booking, just as they would with a passport number. Third-party health apps, including CommonPass and the IATA Travel Pass, are being tested on various airlines and routes, and are expected to be rolled out to the public in the coming months. Earlier this month, Air France launched a test program of an app called ICC AOKpass on round-trip flights between Paris and Los Angeles and Paris and San Francisco.
In an interview last week on NBC Nightly News, Ed Bastian, managing director of Delta Air Lines, said it is likely that vaccine passports will eventually be required for international flights.
Proof of vaccination may also be required to board a cruise ship: Royal Caribbean requires passengers 16 and older to be vaccinated for May’s maiden voyage of the Odyssey of the Seas, which will depart from Israel – which overtakes much of the world in terms of vaccination – and sail the Mediterranean. Virgin Voyages, Crystal Cruises and other cruise lines have also announced vaccine requirements for all passengers and crew.
The idea of proof of vaccination as a condition of travel is not new; some countries require travelers to be vaccinated against yellow fever. The World Health Organization, for its part, has spoken out against the idea of Covid-19 vaccine certificates to give the green light to travel.
“Quite simply, immunization is simply not available enough around the world and is certainly not available on an equitable basis,” said Michel Ryan, the Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergency Program, at a press conference earlier this month.
What should I expect at my hotel or Airbnb?
In short: less people, a lot of cleaning and, quite possibly, less equipment.
The hospitality industry was crushed last year; the latest forecast from the American Hotel & Lodging Association projects that half of the nation’s hotel rooms will remain empty this year, with industry employment hovering around 500,000 jobs below pre-pandemic levels.
The report also found that 62% of consumers consider cleanliness to be one of the main factors when choosing a hotel. Last year, all the big chains and most independents introduced sweeping new health and safety guidelines, which are still in place today even as the business progresses: improved cleaning and disinfection, social distancing, mask warrants and, depending on state and local restrictions, occupancy limits and reduced services such as restaurants, spas and babysitting. Many hotel companies, including Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, and IHG, also offer digital contactless check-in and check-out; some have also introduced physical door “seals” – an indication that no one has entered a room since its last cleaning.