Canary Islands and UNWTO agree first safe flight using Digital Health Passport

The Canary Islands (Spain) and the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) have agreed a pilot flight in July for the world’s first ‘safe’ flight using the Digital Health Passport, developed by Canarian company Hi + Card.

  • Canary Island’s regional Tourism Minister Yaiza Castilla and Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Zurab Pololikashvili, confirmed Friday the project and framework of the collaboration between both institutions.
  • A mobile application, developed by a Canarian company, Hi + Card, has been selected by the UNWTO to launch the project, which will become a digital health passport, storing medical records, that will allow passengers to travel safely, traceably and with data immutability.

The Canary Islands will be the destination of the first pilot flight, with passengers monitored by a secure health application called Hi + Card and free of Covid-19. This was confirmed Friday by the Director General of the World Tourism Organization, UNWTO, Zurab Pololikashvili to the Tourism Minister of the Canary Islands Government, Yaiza Castilla, who thanked him for this “great news” that occurs in the framework of collaboration initiated between both institutions to share and develop measures that support the tourist recovery of the Canary Islands as a safe destination.

Yaiza Castilla points out that “the necessary steps are being taken so that passengers can travel with ease and airlines can, in turn, increase the capacity of their flights, since this application is configured as a digital health passport, covering an expected need for the Canary Islands destination, travellers and airlines, such as having the peace of mind of safely carrying their medical data that certifies them as free of Covid-19.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili has pointed out that “in these exceptional times, in which the Covid-19 pandemic has shaken the world economy and threatened our tourism sector, innovation becomes the cornerstone of the recuperation. The trips will no longer be as before. Rather, they will become safer and more sustainable to continue providing benefits to nations and communities.”

The first travellers of this pioneering flight in the world, which will take place next July, will take, thanks to that application, a unique digital profile on their smartphones, where a health entity, accredited by the Ministry of Health, uploads medical information. “Thus, the possibility of creating false profiles or manipulating medical records is avoided,” explains Antonio López de Ávila, co-founder of Hi + Card and CEO of TDDS. Users ask these entities to directly store the information, encrypted and secure, in their profiles.

UNWTO collaboration with the Canary Islands

The Minister of Tourism of the Government of the Canary Islands, Yaiza Castilla, thanked the Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization for this important support for his strategy of reopening tourism in the face of the crisis caused by Covid-19.

This commitment materialised after a telematic meeting with the UNWTO Secretary General, Zurab Pololikashvili, to present him the project that works from the islands to recover tourism as soon as possible and which involves converting the Canary Islands into a redesign laboratory for processes of the entire value chain of tourism activity, creating and verifying protocols for each service and minimizing any risk in order to transmit health security to tourists.

Castilla, who was accompanied at this meeting by the director of the laoratory project, Cristina del Río Fresen, received from Zurab Pololikashvili the support of her organisation for this strategy.

The intention is for the Canary Islands to become a global laboratory for redesigning security tourism protocols, applying them on the islands and sharing them with other tourist destinations in the world.

Zurab Pololikashvili also reported that the organisation’s Digital Innovation and Transformation department is working on a project to minimize risks against the disease on the part of travellers through traceability systems and technology.

Hi + Card

Hi + Card is part of the solutions that the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is supporting based on the commitment made with the Government of the Canary Islands to help the recovery of tourism worldwide.

It is a Canarian initiative, global in scope, linked to Turisfera the Canary Islands Business Innovation cluster, and launched by Air Institute and Tourism Data Driven Solutions (TDDS) in collaboration with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).


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