COVID-19 immobilized the world due to travel controls and halts to border crossings, wrecking many CARICOM Member States’ economies. The travel and tourism sector and hospitality industry were particularly affected. Given that there is no vaccine for COVID-19, border and travel controls are likely to continue to be utilised as a means of controlling the rate of the spread of the virus from countries with high rates of infection to those with low infection rates. The pandemic has highlighted the fact that border management now, and in the future require more interaction with Health Authorities to better undertake effective risk assessments to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and future pandemics, as well as ensure the safety and health of both border officials and travellers.
After weeks of border closures, some countries have gradually reopened their borders for travel, while other countries have instituted restricted travel arrangements. The unprecedented challenges faced by the travel and tourism sector during the pandemic, will likely continue until travellers feel safe and confident that their health and security are not threatened. In this regard, ‘touchless travel’, digital identity and biometrics technology will increasingly play an important role to ensure a social distancing passenger experience. However, at the heart of these technical solutions is the issue of privacy, consent, and transparent data governance.
The panel will explore the above mentioned issues as well as the collaboration between governments and international and regional agencies such as International Civil Aviation Organization ICAO, World Health Organisation (WHO) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) which is key to operating in this “New Normal”, where the introduction of touchless technology is critical to redefine travel and build a more sustainable, responsive and resilient travel and tourism industry. The panellists will also show how these collaborative measures will align health security, aviation and border priorities, guidelines and policies to contribute to the “New Normal of Travel.”
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) was established by the Twenty Seventh Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government in July 2006, in Bird Rock, St Kitts and Nevis, as the implementation arm of a new Regional Architecture to manage CARICOM’s action agenda on crime and security.