Airport testing initiatives such as the CommonPass system will be crucial to restoring the confidence of travellers, according to one of the participants in a transatlantic trial of the system.
Jason Oshiokpekhai, UK managing director of Internova Travel Group’s (formerly known as Travel Leaders Group) Global Travel Collection (Protravel International UK, Tzell Travel Group UK, Colletts Travel and Scotia Travel), was one of a handful of travellers who successfully tested the CommonPass app on a journey from Heathrow to Newark earlier this week.
Oshiokpekhai said the trial gave him “more confidence” that a testing system such as CommonPass could be the key to helping a successful recovery of the travel and tourism industry.
“This initiative offers a really strong and compelling proposition,” he told TTG following the trip to Newark.
The CommonPass trial included filling out a self-assessment questionnaire on the app up to 24 hours before departure and then taking a swab-based Covid test at Heathrow.
If the test comes back negative, a QR code is then created with all the traveller’s details which can be scanned by customs and border officials at the other end of the journey.
“The test only took about 45 seconds, then I waited 30 to 45 minutes to get a text message on the phone to say I was Covid negative,” explained Oshiokpekhai.
“This is one of the most important initiatives in recent memory with the industry facing an existential crisis.
“A track, trace and test system will increase travel confidence. People want to travel but they need something to give them confidence. They want to be able to travel feeling safe from the time they leave home.
“When I got off the plane, I felt that this could be the future of global travel. We need it to be verified and standardised across the globe. In a global pandemic, you need a framework to resolve this issue.
“We need to learn to live with Covid and minimise the risk when travelling.”