Samoa’s Covid-19 contact tracing app, Samoa Travel Tracer, has been officially launched in Apia by Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa.
The platform is a joint initiative between the Ministry of Health and Samoa Tourism Authority and is a vital component of the Samoa Travel-Ready Toolkit.The toolkit also includes vaccination, tourism business operator training and maintenance, and sales and marketing initiatives.
Samoa Travel Tracer is based on the privacy-preserving BlueTrace protocol developed in Singapore, and it was developed locally in partnership with SkyEye and the Samoa Information Technology Association.
Tourism Fiji has a new initiative to encourage all Fijians to be ready to welcome back international visitors when travel resumes. The initiative communicates a simple, but important, message in a bid to reach 100% vaccination of eligible population in Fiji.
‘It’s our best shot at travel: get vaccinated and get ready,’ will be shared across Tourism Fiji’s digital channels, both locally and globally.
‘The campaign also includes a toolkit for the Fijian tourism industry so they too can encourage Fijians to support the drive to get vaccinated and be ready to reopen,’ says Brent Hill, Tourism Fiji CEO.
The travel and tourism industries say the galvanising of the general public to take the jab is a silver lining in the grim reality of a Level 4 lockdown.
Travel Agents Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) president , Brent Thomas, says it is important to give credit where it’s due and acknowledge that the vaccination rate has picked up markedly.
‘From a travel industry point of view that means we will likely to be on target for the government to start opening the borders early next year as promised,’ says Thomas.
More than 80% of people support both domestic and international vaccine passports to open a return more rapidly to business travel, according to polling results released out of Australia by the corporate arms of Flight Centre Travel Group (FCM, Corporate Traveller, Flight Centre Business Travel, and Stage and Screen).
Over 1700 people across the LinkedIn channels of the four brands responded, with 80.75% in favour of a domestic and international vaccine passport, and less than 9% not in support of any passport initiative.
An accountant who specialises in the travel and tourism industries is urging agents and others in the trade to gain a good understanding of the recently announced Wages Subsidy and Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) even if at first glance they feel they may not qualify.
Paul Davies, director of OneTeam Chartered Accountants says if an agent’s actual or expected revenue is down by 40% or more due to the move to Alert Level 4 they can claim the wages subsidy for the two weeks commencing 17 August.
‘The comparison is either with a typical 14-day period in the six weeks prior to 17 August. It is important to note that if your business is seasonal (which most travel businesses are) you can compare with 17-30 August in 2020 or 2019,’ says Davies.
The tourism industry in Fiji continues to show its resilience and determination to get back to business by leading the way with getting vaccinated.
Tourism Fiji’s head office team in Nadi, Fiji, received their second dose at Nadi Airport last week. Other industry partners are also now in the position of having their staff fully vaccinated in support of the Fiji Government drive to get every eligible Fijian vaccinated as soon as possible.
By Paul Davies, Partner, OneTeam Chartered Accountants Ltd
Every crisis brings about changes. Hardship separates those who love what they do and are prepared to adapt from those who are locked in old methodologies.
Getting clarity around the roll-out of vaccinations and what that will mean for future travel is the number one issue in terms of getting the industry here back on its feet, says Travel Agents’Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) president Brent Thomas.
‘What we have seen overseas is that borders open as vaccination numbers increase. There is more willingness to open up to vaccinated people and we see that as a guide to how New Zealand will come out of this.
Global air passenger numbers are expected to recover to 88% of pre-Covid-19 levels in 2022, according to a long term forecast released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Tourism Economics. This follows what is likely to be a 52% recovery in 2021.
The organisations predict the damage of the Covid-19 crisis will be felt for years to come but say people have retained their desire and need to travel.
The report notes that consumers have accumulated savings in the lockdowns, in some cases exceeding 10% of GDP. Vaccination rates in developed countries (with the notable exception of Japan) should exceed 50% of the population by the third quarter of 2021.