Are vaccination passports the future of international travel?

It’s been over a year since the world began to fully feel the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although all sectors have struggled to navigate through the pandemic, few sectors have been hit harder than most – including the travel industry.

Just recently, we spoke to Dadabhai Travel’s Director, Adnan Gilitwala to gain some insights on vaccination passports, the future of travel and more.

Are COVID-19 passports going to improve travel?

Bahrain has become one of the first countries in the world to launch a digital COVID-19 “vaccine passport”. The BeAware app – which was launched at the onset of the pandemic to facilitate contact tracing, and currently also manages digital vaccine bookings – will function as the passport. The app will be able to confirm an individual’s immunity status via a green “COVID-19 Vaccinated” shield, accompanied by an official certificate with the account holder’s name, date of birth, nationality, and vaccine type selected. GCC leaders have also shared plans about having a unified passport for GCC countries.

“Bahrain has handled the entire Covid situation remarkably from day one”, Adnan shared. “They have maintained the balance between giving us freedom while keeping everybody safe. Moreover, they didn’t wait for the situation to get so bad before reacting to it. They’ve been very proactive – something that I am very proud of as a Bahraini national”, he added.

Adnan Gilitwala, Director, Dadabhai Travel

Adnan believes that the vaccine passport is going to further enhance people’s comfort level of getting out there and traveling again by air but he doesn’t see it affecting the travel industry directly. He said: “Like most industries, it is a matter of supply and demand. The demand is there but currently, the supply isn’t – so even if a country opens up tomorrow and even if everyone gets vaccinated tomorrow, if the sheer number of flights doesn’t return back to the way it was – then the industry will not see any huge benefits from this.”

“Will inspire confidence in people? Will it create a greater sentiment towards travel? Will it psychologically affect the industry? Absolutely”, he commented.

Is the way of doing business going to change?

Adnan says that it would depend on the industry in question: “Travel is one of the industries where your market is growing every single year because it’s dependent on people. The more people we have every year, the more potential travelers we have.”

“Certain industries will able to still operate and conduct themselves in a virtual format. Some might feel like it might be a good gap arrangement but it’s not how they would want things to be, permanently”, he added.

Is the market going to bounce back?

COVID-19 has decimated the passenger-carrying industry worldwide, without a doubt but Adnan believes that the industry will soon bounce back. He shared that traveler experiences aren’t going to be the same because it will depend on country to country. Every country has a way of doing things and a trip to a place might be very different post-Covid.

How is Dadabhai Travel coping?

“It has been over a year since COVID-19 has become a global issue and the pandemic has been one of the most drastic effects in the world that we have seen in our lifetimes. Despite that, Dadabhai Travel is still here; we are still active and fighting to retain our place as the market leader in Bahrain. We’re also continuing with our expansion across the GCC and working on revamping our infrastructure as a company”, Adnan shared.


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