G-20 countries set to back efforts for Covid-19 vaccine passports

The travel and tourism industry was one of the most hard hit economically by Covid-19. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) - The world's 20 major economies threw their weight behind efforts to introduce so-called vaccine passports to boost travel and tourism, stressing that a resumption is crucial for a global economic recovery, according to a draft statement seen by Bloomberg

Tourism ministers from the Group of 20 nations, who met on Tuesday (May 4), said the outlook for a sector devastated by pandemic lockdowns remains "highly uncertain", according to the draft, which is subject to change.

The travel and tourism industry was one of the most hard hit economically by restrictions on activity to contain the coronavirus.

It saw its contribution to global output collapse by 49 per cent to US$4.7 trillion (S$6.28 trillion) in 2020, causing the loss of 62 million jobs, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. International visitor spending plunged by an unprecedented 69 per cent.

"We emphasise that the resumption of travel and tourism is crucial for global economic recovery because of the direct and indirect economic impact this sector has on others," the document said. The pandemic is an opportunity to "shape a more resilient, sustainable and inclusive tourism sector", it also said.

Mr Thomas Bareiss, a deputy German economy minister who took part in the virtual meeting, said a new start for tourism after the pandemic should be guided by the principle of "build back better".

"We agreed that we want a more resilient, more sustainable and more inclusive tourism sector in order to be better equipped for the future," he said in an e-mailed statement.

The ministers are set to back efforts for safe mobility, coordinating with initiatives including the European Union's Digital Green Certificate. That document will show the bearer has been fully vaccinated, has immunity via recovery, or recently tested negative.

EU member states would reopen borders to travelers from countries with relatively low infection rates, as well as those who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, under a proposal unveiled on Monday. It could be adopted as soon as the end of May.

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