BRUSSELS — A digital vaccine green pass is the key to reviving cross-border tourism and exhibitions — and it’s coming soon. The European Commission is expected to roll out a first draft of the legislation on March 17.
According to various reports, the new digital passport will list whether a traveler has been vaccinated, has been tested negative for the virus, or had been ill with the virus at some point. Fully vaccinated people would be able to bypass the various countries’ current quarantine restrictions.
It is unclear if the pass will become mandatory for people traveling within the European Union, or when it will officially be released. Hopes are that it would be active by June, the start of the busy tourism season.
In a formal statement, the European Exhibition Industry Alliance “strongly endorsed” the move, saying, “Fragmented travel regulations and restrictions within the EU and globally remain a major barrier for international exhibitions and professional events to resume business. Instead, increasing and speeding-up vaccinations combined with cost-effective rapid testing and intelligent tracing solutions will foster both the protection of health and enable travel within Europe and worldwide and to start the economic recovery.
“Trade fairs, exhibitions and business events will play a vital role in the economic recovery,” the statement continued. “With lead times of a minimum of 4-6 months, our industry needs a clear roadmap for planning and preparing the international innovation and business platforms on time.”
According to UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, the global exhibition and trade show industry contracted by 68% in 2020 compared to 2019, resulting in a loss of 2.4 million full-time jobs. The numbers are of historic proportion: UFI’s Global Exhibition Barometer saw $224 billion of lost total exhibition-related revenue in 2020, with $73 billion of that total coming from Europe alone.
The European Exhibition Industry Alliance represents nearly 400 European exhibition organizers and venue operators. These trade fairs and exhibition players are organized in UFI and the European Major Exhibition Centres Association (EMECA).
Reach Barbara Weizacker, Secretary General, European Exhibition Industry Alliance, at firstname.lastname@example.org.