Vaccine passports ‘useless’: Spanish travel agents’ dire warning – ‘another lost summer’

Boris Johnson discusses vaccine passports for overseas travel

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The European Commission is committed to a restart of international travel from July 1. From that date, a shared vaccine passport will exempt citizens from any travel restrictions.

The digital certificate will show if a person has had the vaccine, Covid-19 test results, or if they have immunity from a previous infection.

With the vaccine passport, residents who have had the two jabs won’t need to present a negative Covid-19 test when entering the country and will be exempt from quarantine.

Although European officials are confident this will enable a full recovery, the travel industry remains sceptical.

Xavi Pons, a travel agent from Spain, has told why no one will actually use the digital certificate this summer.

“The vaccine passport is going to help eventually, but this summer it will be useless. The problem in many European countries like Spain is that people that travel the most – people in their 30s or 40s – won’t be vaccinated in the next months,” he explained.

“Vaccinated people in their 60s or 70s travel too, but they usually stay in Spain.

“And people in their 70s, although they are vaccinated, they are scared of travelling abroad.

“The EU app is a good idea, of course, but I don’t think people will get to use it this summer,” Xavi said.

Across Europe, the tourism industry has lost an estimate of 100 billion euros during the pandemic.

Spain is one of the hardest hit countries with a loss of 67 million euros and a drop of 77 percent in tourism.

Travel agents in Spain believe the vaccine passport will help the industry recover long term, but are certain that this year will be another lost summer.

“What travel agents are seeing in Spain is that we are selling a lot of domestic holidays but no international trips. All the holidays I’m selling are around Spain. 95 percent of the bookings right now are for the Balearic or the Canary Islands,” he explained.

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“People don’t want to travel around Europe yet, they are scared. People are still afraid as it is all very recent and I really don’t see them looking forward to travelling internationally.”

He said that “the app will certainly help in the future” but this will be “another lost summer.”

“In terms of the tourism sector in Spain, this summer is going to be different, atypical,” said the travel agent.

“Last year was a disaster, for sure, and probably this year will be a bit better but Spain relies a lot on British tourism, and the UK has said that for now, Spain is not a safe country.

“I have been speaking with people in Benidorm that were complaining about their situation. If Britons don’t go to Benidorm, the city is empty,” Xavi explained.

Currently, officials in the UK are drawing up proposals to allow fully vaccinated Britons to visit amber list countries without the need to quarantine on return.

A vaccine passport is being discussed in the UK, although vaccination records can be viewed through the NHS app.

Mutual recognition by the EU of the UK NHS vaccination certificate is expected.

This means fully vaccinated Britons will be able to use the NHS app as proof when entering a country.

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