A JAB BETWEEN THE RIBS
The virus is exposing global fault lines in tourism policies, health infrastructure, political commentary and wishful thinking.
It’s no news that travel business worldwide has been crushed like never before with the advent of the pestilence from Wuhan. The global concerted response has, alas, been clearly missing for a long time.
The developed world rallied for its own, the developing states like ours, floundered and yet held steady, while the really poor states were left to fend for themselves.
The travel industry was in for a nasty shock, ill prepared as it was for an event of such magnitude. Lately, it’s good to see stirrings of a movement to facilitate travel processes, at least in regions where it is being eased up. IATA has stepped forward with its app for this. The IATA Travel Pass is a mobile app that helps travellers to store and manage their verified certifications for COVID-19 tests or vaccines. The note says it is more secure and efficient than current paper processes used to manage health requirements.
How this process becomes the globally accepted norm is yet to be realised.
While not even distantly the domain of the travel industry, the parameters, scope, testing procedures and rightly certified jabs are relevant to the survival of tourism business.
Now that USA and the other biggies seem to be chipping in with doses for the world, things are supposed to turn rosy. Unfortunately, the promise of revival doesn’t seem so easy. The worries of intellectual property and profit margins are still holding back quantum jump in the production of vaccines for the world.
On the other hand, perhaps a special window or process for travellers needs to be opened through which travel, both domestic and international can be secured.
The indigenous Covaxin not being on the WHO list yet keeps out many potential travellers out of the international loop. It’s clear the pressures of pharma business and sales have a significant role to play in the supply, availability and distribution of vaccines. No need to brush that fact under the carpet.
The time is to work with what the situation presents and use whatever leverage to build a better business climate.
Governments and politics are the least of the industry’s focus of activity but impact tourism the most.
The tourism-beyond-borders and global-village-utopian dreams are good as ideals. It is more mundane subjects that rule the air. Vaccine passports and similar ideas can be discriminating, self-serving for a few and perhaps erratic in implementation. But where are the alternatives?
The views expressed in the column are of the author, and may or may not be endorsed by the publication.