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25th Aug 2021

New digital tools aim to smooth travel planning

Short on time? Here are the highlights:
  • Public health conditions and travel rules continue to change very quickly from destination to destination. There is a lot of detail to keep track of and an expanding field of online travel dashboards aim to make it easier for travellers and travel advisors to plan.

Student travellers, agents, and educators can now take advantage of a growing range of online resources that are designed to help keep pace with rapidly changing public health conditions and travel rules for destinations around the world.

We previously noted one early entry in this category: the Destination Tracker. This online dashboard has been jointly produced by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) with the explicit goal to "boost confidence and accelerate recovery of the tourism sector when borders reopen.”

Similarly, Australia's goPassport provides a Live Risk Map that tracks COVID conditions in destinations around the world, including recent-term trends in COVID cases, government response, and vaccination rates. The Live Risk Map also provide a high-level summary of current travel rules, at both a country and state/provincial level, as well as any overall risk rating for each destination. The map relies on machine learning to compare and rate a variety of factors for each country to arrive at that overall rating, and is refreshed daily.

goPassport's Live Risk Map uses artificial intelligence to process multiple data sources for each destination country.

And Lufthansa has produced its own map-based dashboard which provides a more personalised summary for each travellers. The Lufthansa map is interactive and allows each traveller to see updated travel conditions and rules based on his/her passport, vaccination status, and intended destination.

Lufthansa's interactive travel map provides detailed information on travel conditions based on the user's passport and vaccination status.

The map then provides a fair bit of detail for each destination, including travel restrictions, quarantine requirements, travel documents, and direct links to any related travel apps that travellers are required to use.

Sample data, documents, and links returned for a Canadian passport-holder intending to travel to Spain.

There is an impressive amount of continuously refreshed information reflected in each of these online resources. Where each falls short, for international educators at least, is any specific provisions or requirements for international students. That caution aside, each will still be an important aid for students and student counsellors alike, and especially in a time when travel conditions and rules are changing so quickly in destinations around the world.

For additional background, please see:

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