The Digital Travel Declaration from air transport IT provider SITA makes it easier for countries to manage the threat of Covid from inbound travellers through synched-up technology. Jenny Southan reports
SITA’s Digital Travel Declaration tool was launched in October 2020 and allows passengers to share required travel and health documentation with governments ahead of their journey.
According to the company’s website, industry bodies such as IATA, ICAO and WHO promote the use of pre-travel declarations by the traveller to the destination country to “minimise risk and inform authorities appropriately in advance of travel”.
Through this approach, the SITA Digital Travel Declaration makes it easy for travellers to provide the required information to the destination government prior to departure in a few quick steps. Governments can even grant an authority to travel based on an assessment of the information provided.
SITA now says it will provide the entry-level configuration of the tool to government agencies globally for a period of 12 months in order to help them safely reopen their borders and “address the mounting challenge around health documentation”. (Once onboard, Globetrender sees it as being unlikely that a government will stop using it, and will subsequently pay.)
The company says that “inefficiencies and a lack of common standards around managing health documentation remain the single biggest obstacle to rebuilding the travel and tourism industry and supporting economic growth”.
SITA explains that the Digital Travel Declaration can also be used to streamline other travel requirements, such as “future pandemics, local health concerns, or more traditional security and immigration travel authorisations”.
David Lavorel, CEO of SITA at Airports and Borders, says: “In many cases, today’s onerous health requirements are discouraging travelers from flying or leading to long lines at airports.
“As an industry-owned organization working at the crossroads of airlines, airports, and governments, we are able to connect the dots and streamline processes around health documentation.
“Making Digital Travel Declaration freely available to governments will be an investment in the recovery of our industry, and we hope will go some way towards addressing the challenges we all face today.”