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Data protection in the smart travel chain – ITB Berlin NOW discusses the disclosure of health data

Markus Winkler

The new relevance of heath data has given even greater topicality to the subject of data protection in the smart travel chain. In summing up the situation, data experts at ITB Berlin NOW decided that not all the answers have yet been found.

The fact that data-based processes allow customers to switch between suppliers’  platforms without too much loss of time or energy was assessed as positive by James Adams of Sixt. On the other hand this means that tourists have to place a great deal of trust in the system. It remains to be decided how this is to be achieved, especially where the confirmation of vaccination or testing is concerned.

Amadeus Deutschland has introduced a travellers’ ID, which remains unchanged for each link in the travel chain when booking with Amadeus, regardless of the platform. Christian Warneck, vice president Airlines Solutions at Amadeus Deutschland, pointed out only data required by the particular company would be released in the fulfilment of its offer. “To obtain an entry permit it would not be necessary to release the complete data set of the QR code for a test.” The same applies to “biometric boarding”, a digital boarding card that relies on face recognition.

Adams used this example to explain that Sixt does not require the vaccination data, but it could be of benefit to the customer if it is evident, prior to his arrival at the counter, that he had a valid driver’s licence. Anthony Hunt, vice president Product and Strategy for the Shiji hotel and retail group, said: “While the guest is eating, drinking, staying overnight and paying, we collect data that can be sent within our group, if the guest approves. In return his journey becomes more friction-free.

All the participants emphasised that fully data-driven tourism has still not been achieved: “As things stand we will have to live with parallel systems of analogue and digital vaccination and test certificates for a long time yet”, Warneck predicted.

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