Looking for a little good news in global mobility these days?
Global mobility volume had been setting new record highs every year and it was continuing its historical upward trend as we headed into 2020. Then, enter COVID-19 travel restrictions and lockdowns. As of March 31, there were 91 countries on complete lockdown, meaning that for 45 percent of the world, no one was getting in or out. Well, according to this optimistic article from City A.M., a bounceback is coming, and it's coming sooner than maybe most of us had imagined.
"Dire as they may be, this year’s restrictions are not the new normal for world travellers and businesspeople hungry for international opportunities. Now is not the time for anybody to retire their passports or for businesses to rein in their global ambitions."
Since 2015, the World Passport Index has been tracking the ease of mobility across the world and has kept track of historic Mobility Scores (MS) and the Global Passport Power Rank for each country. Countries are ranked by how many passports they accept visa-free, with visa on arrival or with eTA. While the "World Openness Score" took a dive (65 percent drop at the end of May in just a couple of months) due to temporary restrictions and bans on travel, this article points out that this is all just temporary. In actuality, countries have not changed their agreements with one another and no policies have been changed for the long-term. Hence, once temporary travel restrictions are able to be lifted, people will resume traveling, and it will be that travel and mobility that "will be the singularly most profound driver for economic recovery post-pandemic."
The article also points out that positive changes will come from this recent shutdown period too as travel gets re-imagined to better account for safety and experience enhancements. One predicted enhancement is that 100% of passports will be bio-metric passports where authorities can match identity data in a passport with vaccine or COVID-19 test certificates. "We are on the cusp of a passport revolution that will make travel safer for public health, and swifter from a travel experience perspective." The ultimate effect will be improved passport technology that will support the rebooting of global growth and will support the continuation of that upward trend of globalization.
Then, on top of that optimistic outlook, comes recent survey data from GBTA that notes that nearly half of all companies plan to resume domestic travel within the next three months, while one in five plan to resume all travel in the same period.
How are you feeling about domestic or international travel at this point?
World openness and prosperity are inextricably linked. Global mobility and visa-free travel go hand in hand with a “global citizen” mindset where we can work, travel, and succeed wherever the opportunities take us. Indeed, mobility will be the singularly most profound driver for economic recovery post-pandemic.