Travel agents support vaccine passport

KUALA LUMPUR, 10 August 2021: The Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents (MATTA) has reiterated its call for ASEAN governments to introduce an ASEAN Digital Covid -19 Certificate ahead of borders reopening in the region. 

MATTA President Datuk Tan Kok Liang urged ASEAN governments should work out a common and acceptable vaccine passport protocol that will jump-start Intra-ASEAN travel.

Photo: https://news.un.org

ASEAN, comprising 10 countries in Southeast Asia, has a population of about 660 million people, but currently, all essential business travel is allowed between member countries. Leisure travel halted more than a year ago when Covid-19 hit the region, and the situation has deteriorated this year for all member countries. When borders reopen, travel consumers will demand simplified measures and a convenient, widely recognised digital certificate accepted by all ASEAN member countries.

The MATTA president noted that a set of standard operating procedures must be in place to avoid confusion, anxiety and provide a seamless travel experience within ASEAN countries.

He cited that IATA travel pass and WHO vaccine passports to facilitate international travel should be considered by ASEAN countries along with an ASEAN Digital Covid-19 Certificate.

“Ideally, the ASEAN Digital Covid-19 Certificate will provide information of proof of vaccination, to show if a person holds a negative SARS-COV-2 test result, or has recovered from Covid-19.”

To avoid duplication, such as checks by multiple operators – airlines, immigration, public authorities and confusion, MATTA recommends a ‘one-stop’ verification process prior to departure, involving coordination between authorities, airports and airlines.

ASEAN Member Countries should ensure that the verification is carried out as early as possible and preferably before the traveller arrives at the airport. This should ensure a smooth travel process and experience for all involved, said Tan.