What Indian travelers think of ‘digital health passports’

As governments and the travel industry explore the benefits of digital health passports, the message from Indian travelers is clear: digital health passports can be a vital tool in opening up travel once again.

A recent study by Amadeus found that 93% of Indian travelers would be comfortable using a digital health passport for future trips, as the appetite to travel remains high with nearly half (47%) expressing their interest in booking international travel within six weeks once the restrictions are lifted. The study further revealed that over the past three quarters, 79% of Indian travelers would be willing to store their travel health data electronically if it meant it will enable them to travel sooner, and if it enabled them to pass through the airport faster with less face-to-face interactions with others.

The international study that included over 1,000 respondents from India, indicates that there is enough incentive for authorities and businesses to accelerate plans for digital health passports. In fact, 57% stated that they would be happy for a digital health passport to become the norm.

Despite an overwhelming response to digital health passports, when queried further, there are concerns about security and privacy such as:

  • 34% of respondents are worried about data security risks with their personal information being hacked,
  • 28% of respondents are concerned about lack of transparency and control over how and where their data will be shared.

Surprisingly, the highest skepticism around digital health passports was reported among Gen Z, with 12% saying that they would not be comfortable using a digital health passport under any circumstances.

The travel industry needs to consider and explore the checks and balances to ease privacy concerns and build traveler confidence in digital health passports, to which the survey found that:

  • Over half of Indian travelers (53%) would be comfortable using a digital passport if it was accepted by most countries and was regulated as per international standards,
  • 8 out of 10 (80%) would be more likely to store health data on a secured app where a travel provider has partnered with a trusted healthcare provider.

Even though receptiveness to sharing data is high, when asked about the technologies that would increase confidence in travel in the next 12 months, mobile solutions were highlighted as a popular option, with suggestions that include:

  • Mobile applications that provide on-trip notifications and alerts (51%)
  • Contactless mobile payments (49%)
  • Facial recognition technology (48%)
  • Boarding pass on mobile (47%)

Mani Ganeshan, Head of R&D, APAC, Amadeus, says, “As businesses navigate out of the global pandemic, the future of travel looks optimistic. This study offers a clear roadmap for the industry, by acknowledging the appetite for technologies that can address the concerns of travelers, whether it is better access to information or reducing physical proximity. Innovations such as digital health passports can catalyze both traveler confidence and the opening of international borders once again. With the world racing towards digital transformation unlike ever before, sophisticated travel-friendly apps will help build the much-needed confidence for travelers both worldwide and in India.”

Christophe Bousquet, CTO, Amadeus, comments, “This study reinforces the key role that technology will play in rebuilding travel. We’ve seen a shift since our last survey, as travelers now place more focus on mobile and touchless technology, crucial areas that will clearly strengthen traveler confidence. It’s also very relevant to see that travelers are open to digital health passports and sharing their data as they move through the journey, once the right safeguards are in place. At Amadeus, we’re committed to rebuilding a better industry, together with our customers and partners.”

To gather more insights into how the travel industry can rebuild, Amadeus, a global leader in travel technology, commissioned research to learn more about travelers top concerns around digital health data, their comfort levels with sharing and storing their data, and the solutions that may help to alleviate their concerns for future travel.

The research is the second in a series of traveler surveys, where Amadeus takes a regular checkpoint on traveler sentiment and concerns to help the industry rebuild travel in the most effective way. The 2020 Rethink Travel survey revealed how technology can help to increase traveler confidence and Amadeus revisited this question to see how traveler confidence has changed since September 2020. 91% of travelers globally now say that technology will increase their confidence to travel, an increase from 84% in September 2020.

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