The restart of international travel could be seriously delayed without worldwide reciprocal recognition of all approved Covid-19 vaccines, warned the WTTC.
The global tourism body’s warning follows concerns tourists face being turned away at the 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.
WTTC believes that once again, the lack of international coordination to agree on a list of approved vaccines, is creating yet another major stumbling block for the restart of international travel.
This comes despite most vaccines having secured the approval of the World Health Organisation or Stringent Regulatory Authorities.
WTTC warned that reports of travellers being turned away because they have the ‘wrong’ vaccine batches or ‘unrecognised’ vaccines have fuelled concerns from consumers, deterring them from booking and thereby damaging the already struggling travel and tourism sector.
Virginia Messina, senior vice president of WTTC, 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, as we know every day travel is curbed, more cash-strapped travel and tourism businesses face even greater strain, pushing 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, not the door to preventing it.
“It will also give holidaymakers and travellers the confidence they need to book trips, flights and cruises, confident in the knowledge that their fully-vaccinated status will be internationally recognised.”