Planning for the Return of Global Travel

Dear TAs,

It has been more than a year since people have been able to travel freely, and many avid travelers feel as though the quality of their lives has changed with the loss of that freedom.  Travel restrictions have affected both business and pleasure travelers, and these limits have caused people to miss important social and business interactions. This has brought stress and frustration to many.

It is very important that both individuals and countries manage risk and do what is necessary to stay safe from Covid-19. Such safety is a global necessity. As cases of the virus decline worldwide, we must begin planning ways to re-open borders and resume travel. Travel restrictions have had both social and economic costs across the world. Many people are ready to get on with their lives and feel that their freedom to travel is a large part of that.

A plan to resume travel is critical.  This plan must manage the risks of living in a world with Covid-19. Airlines and countries need to begin making and implementing their own strategies for recovery. These plans should have milestones that enable countries to reopen their borders safely while at the same time, manage the risks of Covid-19.  Some of those management tools should include testing capabilities and vaccine distribution, and ways to verify this information while protecting passenger privacy. There are several ideas for Global Passports and Health Travel Apps which will allow airlines to check passengers’ Covid status.  However, some of the risk management must be on the travelers themselves – by getting vaccinated and traveling safely, adhering to the regulations set forth by the airlines they choose to fly, and the countries they plan to visit.

Most people in the travel industry feel that Covid-19 will not disappear completely, so we need to find ways to lessen travel restrictions while safely managing the risks of the virus. This will allow global economies to recover and improve the lives of individuals with more freedom to travel.

Cheers!

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