Truth Behind Travel Podcast Episode 34. This Episode analyses and highlights the newly approved EU Digital Covid Certificate (former Digital Green Certificate).
- What is the EU Digital Covid Certificate
- Who is eligible
- How does one obtain it
- Where is the Certificate valid and for how long
Your Host: Dolores Semeraro
Hospitality Virtual Keynote Speaker Dolores Semeraro is a Travel Recovery Strategist with more than 15 years of experience in hospitality, marketing, and trading. She is passionate about helping her clients develop the leadership strategies they need to restore travel confidence and win their customers back.
Dolores’ high-energy virtual keynote presentations are thought-provoking and open the audience’s perception of what really matters to today’s travel consumers.
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Season 1 - Episode 34
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Welcome back to Truth Behind Travel Podcast – or welcome if you are here for the first time. This podcast helps you travel better, lead your travel business with travelers’ needs in mind, and all together – it provides support to restart tourism.
So my question is, how can we restart tourism if we don’t unlock travel? Exactly, unlocking travel in a safe and respectful manner has been on the top of the priority list for many international travel and tourism institutions and not only. Back in April, on Episode 28 we discussed how the so-called Vaccine Passports were starting to be discussed, in episode 28 we talked specifically about The EU Digital Green Certificate and the IATA Travel Pass. Today we are going to dive into the evolution of The EU Digital Green Certificate and what we need to know if we are traveling across Europe.
Real quick before we start, I want to let you in a secret. Did you know that 54% of travelers today have shifted their brand loyalty to a new brand or product? Do you know why this happened? Travel and hospitality communicators and brand content creators have failed to communicate what mattered to travelers. Is that simple? So if you working in this industry and are in charge of your brand content message, you must not miss the video training program I created for those, like you, struggling to reconnect with their travel audience. Take a look at the link in the show notes, it’s a free resource with 4 modules in video format that will allow you to create new, strong, and winning content that will restore the travel confidence of your audience, Head over to the show notes to get the link.
This week – precisely on June 14 2021 – the Presidents of the three main European Union Institutions, namely The Parliament, The Council, and the Commission, have signed the Regulation Document that approves the implementation of the EU Digital Covid Certificate - Originally called: Digital Green Certificate – as of 1st of July 2021
Let’s get some clarity on what this Certificate is and what does it mean for European Travelers.
On episode 28 – back in April 2021 – we talked about The Digital Green Certificate and the IATA Travel Pass.
Today, the digital green certificate comes back approved and re-branded as EU Digital Covid Certificate. Mind you – not passport – Certificate.
What does that mean?
EU Digital COVID Certificate is digital proof that a person has either:
- been vaccinated against COVID-19
- received a negative test result
- recovered from COVID-19
What is digital proof? The Certificate comes as a QR code in digital or paper format, The digital version can be stored on a mobile device but you can also request a paper format if you want it, it is free of charge and available in your own national language and English. It’s valid across the EU countries.
Tons of questions have started to pour in since the announcement this week:
- Do I need one?
- How can I get one?
- I am not vaccinated, what happens?
Let’s get some clarity on this:
The EU Digital COVID Certificate is not a pre-condition to free movement, but rather the end product of a regulatory system that coordinates travel restrictions across Europe. This means that European Member States may or may not impose further travel restrictions on individuals entering their countries – even if they have an EU Digital COVID Certificate.
What are the technicalities involved in having an EU Digital COVID Certificate?
An authorized or shall I say better – recognized – facility such us a hospital, testing center or health authorities are able to issue the EU Digital COVID Certificate based on one of this three conditions:
- the person is vaccinated
- the person has tested negative for Covid-19
- the person has recovered from Covid-19
Sounds easy, but there’s more to know:
- for vaccinated individuals, all traveling restrictions are lifted only if a person has received one of the EU-wide Marketed and Approved Vaccines (namely Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca/Oxford University, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.) other vaccine certificates are at the discretion of the state members for them to allow them in or not.
Also – the Certificate is issued to any person who received a COVID-19 vaccination in an EU Member State, irrespective of the number of doses.
- for tested individuals, the results are only valid 72 hours for PCR tests and, where accepted by a Member State, 48 hours for rapid antigen tests. Self-tests are not recognized by the EU Digital COVID Certificate
- for recovered individuals, the maximum validity period of the certificate of recovery at 180 days after you’ve had Covid-19
So, let’s say you are one of these three individuals and you want to travel, how does it work?
Pending you fall into one of these three conditions, you are issued the EU Digital COVID Certificate, which contains a QR code with a digital signature that identifies the institution/lab/hospital that has produced the Certificate and guarantees it’s authenticity.
So it’s not your digital signature – but the digital signature of the institution/lab/hospital where you are getting the Certificate from.
When you travel, the certificate QR code is checked or scanned and the signature is verified.
This would ideally mean that you can then enter your EU country of choice without being affected by further travel restriction like quarantine, self-isolation, further testing.
I say ideally because while this is the recommended procedure, each country member of the European Union has the final call on the entry procedures – basically on who comes from where and does what.
So technically, your data is not cross-stored but the digital signatures yes, and the gateway that allows verifying the digital signatures contained in the QR codes of all certificates has been built and set up by T-Systems T-Systems (a German global IT services and consulting company headquartered in Frankfurt) and SAP (System Analysis Program Development) and is hosted at the Commission's data center in Luxembourg.
So what data is stored then?
The EU Digital COVID Certificate contains your name, date of birth, the certificate issuer and the digital signature of the certificate.
Let’s talk about which countries have already adopted and implemented the EU Digital COVID Certificate.
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, The Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Iceland (non-EU Schengen country)
France and Italy will follow by the end of June 2021.
The Regulation of the EU Digital COVID Certificate is set to remain in effect until 31 July 2022.