The travel industry will remain in flux for the foreseeable future: Collinson

The travel services company’s head of Asia Pacific said the travel industry must “adjust the punches” as government requirements continue to evolve with the pandemic.

“The main thing is that the industry is going to remain in flux for the foreseeable future,” Todd Handcock of The Collinson Group told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Wednesday.

He noted that Hong Kong this week announced plans to ban flights from eight countries, after Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the city “is facing a very dire situation of a major community outbreak at any time”.

By contrast, Handcock added, the UK is ready to relax testing requirements for travelers who have been fully vaccinated.

He said tests and vaccinations will continue to be part of the travel process for 2022 and possibly 2023, referring to a recent survey Collinson conducted with CAPA – Center for Aviation.

“We have to keep taking the punches and adapting as things change,” he said.

He also said he did not expect Omicron to cause “significant” changes.

Objectives and obstacles ahead

When asked if the verification of tests and vaccination cases for travel could be simplified, Handcock said the goal is to have an interoperable digital system that can be used globally.

But he added, “We are still far from that.”

He said raising vaccination rates around the world would also be beneficial for those who travel.

He said developed countries have gone ahead in providing booster doses, while most of the world has not been vaccinated.

Echoing the sentiments of experts such as those from the World Health Organization, he added that variants of Covid will emerge as long as there is a large unvaccinated population.

About 59% of the world’s population has received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine – but only 8.8% of residents of low-income countries have received at least one dose, according to data compiled by Our World in Data.

The World Health Organization said Thursday that the uneven distribution of vaccines will undermine the global economic recovery, and that the decline in vaccine coverage in many countries was a major factor in the emergence of variables such as Delta and Omicron.

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Andrew Naughtie

News reporter and author at @websalespromo