The Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents (MATTA) has reaffirmed its appeal for ASEAN governments to implement an ASEAN Digital Covid -19 Certificate before the region's borders reopening.
Datuk Tan Kok Liang, President of MATTA, has encouraged ASEAN states to develop a standard and acceptable vaccine passport protocol to kick-start intra-ASEAN travel.
Although ASEAN, which consists of ten Southeast Asian countries, has a population of almost 660 million people, all essential business travel between member countries is currently permitted. When Covid-19 struck the region more than a year ago, leisure travel came to a halt, and the situation has worsened this year for all member countries. When ASEAN member countries reopen their borders, travellers will want streamlined measures and a convenient, widely recognised digital certificate.
To eliminate uncertainty, anxiety, and to guarantee a seamless travel experience within ASEAN countries, the MATTA president stated that a set of standard operating procedures must be in place.
He suggested that ASEAN countries pursue IATA travel passes and WHO vaccine passports, as well as an ASEAN Digital Covid-19 Certificate, to make international travel easier.
“Ideally, the ASEAN Digital Covid-19 Certificate will give verification of vaccination, indicating whether a person has recovered from Covid-19 or has a negative SARS-COV-2 test result.”
MATTA suggests a ‘one-stop' verification process prior to departure, incorporating coordination between authorities, airports, and airlines, to eliminate duplication, such as checks by several operators — airlines, immigration, and public authorities – and confusion.
As early as feasible, and preferably before the traveller arrives at the airport, ASEAN Member Countries should conduct the verification. According to Tan, this should provide a smooth travel process and experience for everyone concerned.
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