VACCINE passports being required for holidays is likely to be “unavoidable,” one expert has warned.
A number of countries are considering making the documents – which would show the holder has been vaccinated – a requirement.
The Seychelles has become the first country to require them for all arrivals, while Saga Cruises will ban any non-vaccinated travellers from their holidays.
Dr Richard Dawood, who specialists in travel medicine told the Telegraph that the more countries which enforce them, the more will follow.
He explained: “Regardless of how any of us feel about the idea of ‘vaccine passports’ for travel, they will ultimately be unavoidable.
“Once countries begin insisting on proof of Covid immunity from arriving travellers, there will be little option but to embrace the challenge.”
He also said that restrictions which include face masks and social distancing are likely to remain in place for the future.
Countries including Greece and Spain have supported vaccine passports for holidaymakers, although have stressed that it will allow free travel, not ban travel outright.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stated Greece will not establish vaccination as a mandatory requirement for travel, but “those who have been vaccinated should be free to move”.
Spain’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Reyes Maroto has also backed the scheme, adding that it could “restore mobility” across Europe.
He added: “Reaching immunity is a key milestone to generate confidence to travel.”
Other countries and experts warn against making them mandatory, for fear of causing division between vaccinated and non-vaccinated travellers.
Countries which are not in agreement with the vaccine passports include Romania and France, both of which fear it would cause a divide in countries.
WHO has not backed the passports as being a way to restart travel, due to it still being unclear if vaccines can prevent transmission – the Emergency Committee of the WHO Committee said: “Being vaccinated should not exempt international travellers from complying with other travel risk reduction measures.”
The UK is currently trialling a vaccine passport, but it will be used by the NHS to track who has been vaccinated rather than to allow travel again.
The passport, created by biometrics firm iProov and cybersecurity firm Mvine, will be issued as a free app so people can prove digitally if they have had their Covid vaccine.
Tour operators have already reported a boom in holiday bookings from older travellers due to “vaccine optimism”.
However Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned Brits against a holiday abroad this year and has said staycations are much more likely.
We’ve explained everything you need to know about booking a summer holiday.