Travel agencies optimistically await the beginning of the tourist season as some of them report a threefold increase in interest in spending summer holidays abroad compared to last year.
According to the agencies, people grew accustomed to coronavirus measures and are more adapted than before to travel under extraordinary circumstances caused by the pandemic.
Covid passports are likely to become a hallmark of traveling in 2021, indicating whether a holder was vaccinated or tested negative and ensuring there are as few hindrances as possible during their vacation.
So far, tourists have shown the greatest interest in EU destinations, such as Greece, Croatia, Bulgaria, or Spain. “We have sold thousands of summer tours at this point. Thirty percent of clients head to Greece. We also notice that Czechs want to indulge themselves more, so they choose high-quality hotels with better services closer to the sea,” said Andrea Řezníčková, the spokesperson of the travel agency Invia.cz.
Tourists also expect strict hygiene measures on all stages of their voyages and often even require them themselves. “We can certainly count on the disinfection of premises. Besides, the all-inclusive system will be readjusted and service personnel retrained,” Jan Bezděk, the spokesperson of the travel agency Fischer, claimed.
The way the tourist season will develop hinges on the future course of the coronavirus pandemic and vaccination. Covid passports, the concept of which is being prepared by the EU, will make traveling easier and safer.
They should also allow tourists to visit restaurants, theatres, and even mass events. The EU is still negotiating the final form of the document with an outside world, particularly with the US, Britain, Norway, and others. It should be approved by the member states and the European Parliament before the holidays.
The covid passports project has already been launched by Denmark. The document there is a part of the so-called digital identity, meaning that it is paired with an identity card.
Estonia plans to send a QR code which will function as a covid passport to citizens’ mobile phones by the end of the month. Israel, on the contrary, offers both a printed form of the document and a digital one.
Notwithstanding clear advantages covid passports offer, the concept is not flawless. For instance, Israeli residents complain about red tape when it comes to obtaining passports, as well as attempts to forge data in phones.