LONDON: The World Travel & Tourism Council and the World Economic Forum are partnering to help shape the future of how we travel by using digital traveller identity management throughout the whole tourism sector.
The agreement will see the two organisations collaborating, exchanging information and working together to achieve international harmonisation through the use of standards and inter-operability across different parts of the tourism journey.
Both organisations are committed to increasing the use of biometric-enabled technology as the way to increase passenger efficiency while improving border security.
The Known Traveller Digital Identity project is a World Economic Forum initiative that brings together a global consortium of individuals, governments, authorities and the travel industry to enhance security in world travel.
In January 2018, the governments of Canada and the Netherlands committed to piloting the concept in an international cross-border context in collaboration with Air Canada, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Toronto Pearson International Airport and Montréal-Trudeau International Airport.
This week, the KTDI pilot consortium was officially launched, with testing of the enabling technology to start during the course of 2019.
WTTC, which represents the global private tourism sector, is committed to working with the existing initiatives in this area to encourage the use of biometric technology and digital identity throughout the wider sector.
Through its Seamless Traveller Journey programme, WTTC has researched over 53 initiatives using biometrics in the tourism sector and has identified potential emerging models – such as the WEF KTDI initiative – which may address the end-to-end traveller journey of the future.
Gloria Guevara, WTTC president, said: “Our data shows that tourism contributes 10.4 per cent of global GDP and 319 million jobs.
“One in five of all new jobs on the planet are being created by tourism and we forecast that 100 million jobs will be created by our sector in the next ten years.
“Not only will we need to do things differently – as we cannot expect a near-doubling of airport capacity in the next 20 years – but we will need to do things right.
“The key, therefore, is to maximise the growth in a way that ensures safe and hassle-free travel by using biometric technology.”
She added: “The range of work across the sector is welcome but demonstrates the unfortunate fragmentation and complexity.
“The challenge is to align ourselves – in the way we are announcing today – so that all parts of the sector work on same standards and make sure the different solutions can work together and successfully achieve ‘interoperability’ so that a traveller can move seamlessly from one part of their journey to another using biometric technology.