With the pandemic putting a halt on travel and making travellers uneasy to explore the world once more, experts believe that a new health passport app may be the solution to win them over.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, global tourism shrank by 97 percent in April. This could be due to closed borders or travellers being uneasy to travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The new CovidPass app, dubbed as a health passport, hopes to restore travellers confidence to want to travel in a Covid-19 world and hopefully eliminate the need for quarantine at destinations for healthy travellers.
According to the World Economic Forum, CovidPass is the brainchild of one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders, Mustapha Mokass. It also involves other YGLs across 5 continents, including Muna AbuSulayman and Peggy Liu.
So, how does that app work?
Well, CovidPass uses blockchain technology to store encrypted data from travellers’ blood tests, which they can use to show whether they are Covid-19 positive or negative.
The app is set to launch in September.
Mokass wants the app to become a standardised solution for airlines, airports and border agencies. Should CovidPass be successful, it could eliminate the need to quarantine healthy travellers. Many destinations have imposed mandatory quarantine for travellers in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.
CovidPass also commits to mandatory carbon offsetting for each flight passenger in hopes of preserving the environmental benefits of reduced air travel during the crisis. CovidPass could also assist hotels, cinemas, theatres, conference and exhibition industry and sporting and concert venues to reopen safely.
By Nic Andersen for The South African
Sick of all the paperwork every time you travel to South Africa? Well, e-visas could soon make things a whole lot easier.
The Department of Home Affairs has confirmed that phase one of a rollout of electronic visas (e-visas) will begin on 31 March 2019.
While some of the final details are still up in the air, a parliamentary reply from Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba has revealed more about what travellers can expect.
What exactly is an e-visa?
While we’re sure some foreign nationals had hope regarding being free of paperwork, Gigaba says some will still be involved.
“E-visa introduces online capture of visa and permit applications and capturing of applicant’s biometrics in South Africa and abroad. An application will be captured and submitted online together with the required supporting documents that will be scanned and attached to the application. The applicant will then present himself/herself before a DHA Official for biometric enrollment and verification of the supporting documents.”
Following the verification of those documents, all the relevant forms are electronically routed to the Home Affairs head office in Pretoria for adjudication. For an approved visa/permit, a secure QR-Code is generated for print on the notification notice/letter sent to the applicant. This QR-Code contains the approved visa/permit detail and is maintained and managed by DHA at a “secure web-storage facility”.
That very same QR-Code will then be scanned upon arrival here in SA.
The e-visa rollout plan
Beginning with what the department is calling “Phase one, release one”, applications for temporary residence visas, adjudication of temporary residence visas and applications for waivers will be done through the new system.
The rollout of phase one of the e-visa system will be at a foreign mission, embassy or local Home Affairs office yet to be determined.
“This is to ensure system stability. Once table, more offices locally and abroad can then be gradually brought online,” Gigaba said
According to DA Shadow Minister of Tourism James Vos, these modern-day visas will have big positives for the tourism industry.
“Electronic visas will boost the tourism industry by cutting turnaround times for the issuing of travel documentation while ensuring the information of applicants is secure.”
“Most importantly, improved tourist arrivals will facilitate more job growth in the industry while guaranteeing job security for 1,4 million South Africans already working in the tourism industry.”
The new system could see tourists flocking to SA in larger numbers than before.
An American artist, Missy H. Dunaway, used her Moleskine notebook to paint a “diary”, documenting her travels through New York, Istanbul, central Turkey, the Moroccan Sahara and Paris.
A diary in paint
“I am an American artist who left the United States in 2013 to study art in Turkey. I used to keep a written diary, but began recording my days by painting in a Moleskine sketchbook with acrylic ink. My medium is portable, so I was able to pack up my art supplies and continue travelling.
“The book slowly grew into a collection of one hundred landscapes that depict my journey through New York, Istanbul, central Turkey, the Moroccan Sahara and Paris.”
Source and images: www.boredpanda.com/100-landscape-paintings-sketchbook-missy-dunaway