Scandinavian summer is coming but do you feel safe to travel?
A summary of the COVID restrictions in place in Scandianavia and how travel could be reopened safely.
When the lock-down finishes, where do you want to travel? There are certainly good reasons to be extra cautious about reopening for tourism such that we don’t waste the good effort from the past few months and face a return to restrictions. The question is, how can we restart international travel and feel safe at the same time? The answer may be a new technology platform called goPassport, which is emerging as a solution for governments, large corporates and educational institutions to mitigate risk while reopening for tourism and business travel.
The Nordic summer holiday season is approaching quickly. In Scandinavia, most families take holiday in July. In Sweden many corporations close down completely this month. Families usually travel abroad or take a break in summer houses. All of Scandanavia now has the ‘avoid all unnecessary travel’ guideline in place to try to limit travel. Whether people will observe the guideline remains to be seen. All things considered, summer holiday is the longest school holiday and weather is always a key factor to Scandinavians – it is often a case of now or wait another year.
Denmark during the past month has been opening up slowly and gradually. It has announced that from 15th June, travellers from Norway, Germany and Iceland can travel to Denmark without needing to have a 14 days quarantine. One small note is travellers have to present an accommodation booking of 6+ days outside the Copenhagen area to avoid tourists crowding in the capital city. This is a measure to prevent spreading COVID-19 where the population is high.
Yet, does this make sense? It has certainly drawn criticism from the tourism industry as businesses in the capital will not gain benefits of reopening. In addition, checking every traveller on their accommodation bookings is clumsy and time consuming, plus there is no way to make sure travellers do not make a trip to the city despite having booked accommodation elsewhere. Surely there’s a better way to do this?
Iceland has adopted a different COVID approach. Throughout the ‘lock-down’ period, Iceland has remained open for all the European travellers. It only closed international entry in response to the travel restrictions to the Schengen Area. Even though it has a high infection rate on its small population, an explanation is that it has carried out more tests than any other country. From 15th June, Iceland may open again for international travellers, depending on decisions from Schengen countries. Iceland will allow travellers to take a COVID test at the airport on arrival instead of a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Whilst this will encourage tourism, and protect people in Iceland, it does not protect those travellers and service providers who are exposed during transit. How can we protect them too?
goPassport will solve the above mentioned issues. goPassport is a comprehensive, real-time travel compliance solution which integrates with current health and immigration processes to safely manage the risk associated with a staged re-introduction of international travel. There are three key components in the system: a real-time engine for tracking and alerts; an app for travellers; and a portal for visibility of compliance and monitoring. Each is provided using existing, proven technology to support rapid, scalable deployment. With the capability of real-time location tracking before, during and after the transit, we can ensure travellers are healthy before they travel, are visible during transit, and are compliant to the local regulations after they arrive. If travellers are certified healthy before they travel, it minimises the risk of them bringing in disease in the first place thus there is less reason to restrict their whereabouts. If we still want to put restrictions like quarantine or limited locations just to be extra careful, goPassport will be able to handle this task automatically and accurately. I am sure at least border control will be happy about it, but local communities will also feel safer knowing tourists are not bringing COVID-19 with them.
All of the preventive measures governments have taken are about managing risk and not about limiting freedom of movement. No one wants to have lock-down restrictions longer than necessary. There is a solution out there so it is time to strategise and regain our control of our lives in these unusual times. Travelling must not only be a dream.