To travel internationally shortly you won’t just need a paper passport; you’ll likely need a digital one. This will be a smartphone app secured by blockchain protocols that certifies you’re not infected with COVID-19.
This is one of the takeaways from a webinar held on June 5 with Cristina Del Río Fresen of the Canary Islands. The leader of the Ministry of Tourism’s Global Tourism Safety Lab told travel industry executives and journalists on the Zoom call that a July flight from Madrid to the Canary Islands will be a world first: it will test a digital health passport app that will use data from health authorities to certify that travelers are free of COVID-19.
The privately-developed Health iCard App or Hi+ Card has received the backing of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The organization’s Digital Innovation and Transformation department has been working on internet-based tools to reduce the pandemic’s impact on the world’s tourism industry.
The app compliant with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) on data security was created by Madrid-based Tourism Data Driven Solutions, or TDDS, in association with the Spanish-government-backed Air Institute, which specializes in computer science and artificial intelligence.
Blockchain protocols will “avoid the possibility of false profiles being created or medical records being manipulated,” said Antonio López de Ávila, CEO of TDDS. His company was working on the Hi+ Card before the pandemic, and accelerated its development as lockdowns started to be imposed in Europe.