Could Austria’s digital ‘Covid passport’ idea restart summer travel?

Could Austria's digital 'Covid passport' idea restart summer travel?
A policeman stands in front of an Air Austria poster at Vienna Airport. Photo: JOE KLAMAR / AFP
Travel agencies in Austria are calling on the national government and EU to back a digital "Covid passport” to save the summer travel season.

The proposed mobile app would allow travellers to show their test results, antibody status and any Covid-19 vaccinations they have had, drawing inspiration from a Danish initiative

Such an app would eliminate the costly processing of paper evidence and the patchwork of different travel standards, argued Vienna Airport CEO Günther Ofner.

He says since the airport in Vienna was the first in the world to introduce PCR testing, more than 130,000 tests have been carried out at the airport.

The airport joined with a group of travel agencies to call on the Austrian government to take immediate action to introduce such an app, with others already in the pipeline.

The International Air Transport Association is developing the IATA Travel Pass, already supported by some airlines. And the World Economic Forum is working on a CommonPass.

Denmark is looking at a way to create a national digital vaccination certificate which could be used in cultural and business settings, as well as with travel agencies and the airport.

UPDATED: Which countries are now on Austria's quarantine list? 

There is much at stake. Tourism contributes over six percent of Austrian GDP, mostly from skiing.

Meanwhile, Vienna Airport is majority-owned by provinces of Lower Austria and Vienna.

This year the airport is expecting 12.5m passengers, 60 percent more than last year, but still less than half the pre-pandemic figure.

On its slowest day last year there were just 154.


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