Asia Pacific Digest
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  • Airlines
  • Regulations
29 October 2021

RVP Statement on Vietnam's Planned Resumption of International Travel

The International Air Transport Association has urged Vietnam to adopt a data driven approach to reopen its borders.

“The situation today is different from 18 months ago when the crisis started. The travel restrictions and border closures introduced then bought governments time in responding to the pandemic. But that rationale no longer exists,” said Philip Goh, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Asia Pacific. 

"Today we have COVID-19 tests, vaccines have been developed and are being rolled out. We know a lot more about the virus, including how it is transmitted, the treatment for those who have been infected, and the measures that reduce spread. All the information and data available should guide governments in the next steps. Many scientists are saying COVID-19 is becoming endemic and an elimination strategy is not possible. We need to learn to live with COVID-19,” said Goh. 

IATA is calling on governments to align with the World Health Organization when planning to open their borders. This means:

  • Vaccines should be available to all as quickly as possible
  • Vaccinated travellers should not face any barriers
  • Testing should enable those without access to vaccines to travel without quarantine
  • Antigen tests are the key to cost-effective and convenient testing regimes, and
  • Governments should pay for testing, so it does not become an economic barrier to travel

At the same time, it is also critical that governments deploy digital health credentials – documentation of vaccination or testing status – when borders reopen. If the current paper processes continue to be used when travel return to pre-COVID-19 levels, passengers could spend up to 8 hours in airport processes.

"We urge Vietnam to quickly implement digital certificates for testing and vaccination to facilitate international air travel from and to Vietnam. IATA has a ready Travel Pass solution that can be deployed for digital processing and verification in place of paper certificates for travellers to Vietnam," said Goh.

There have been positive developments in the Asia Pacific region with quarantine-free air travel being permitted by more countries – Singapore, Australia, and Thailand. Europe and the US are already open for quarantine free entry by vaccinated travellers.

"The roadmap for resuming international travel developed by the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) is a step in the right direction. However, as long as Vietnam continues to require arriving passengers to be quarantine, it will retard recovery and be a drag on businesses dependent on air travel and foreign visitors.  The aviation sector will remain mired in deep financial crisis and hospitality and tourism businesses will remain in trouble with its negative impact on the wider economy,” said Goh.

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