The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Seamless Traveller Journey initiativeworkshop, held in Seattle, Washington, US, on 7 November 2018, was the fourth of a series of focused meetings. The goal of this workshop was to identify a common interoperable framework allowing travel industry stakeholders to engage with governments with a collective voice. The WTTC is aiming to create a seamless traveller journey within the existing process which puts the traveller at the centre. Expertise and insights from multiple entities from across the travel industry (airlines, airports, hospitality, cruise, car rental, tour operators), air travel industry associations (ACI and IATA), as well as identity and technology solution providers, gathered at the Google offices in Seattle to guide the harmonized approach.
WTTC is the body which represents the global private sector for travel and tourism. This organization announced a series of pilot schemes to test the use of biometric technology throughout the end-to-end passenger journey. In the first half of 2019, a trial will test the biometric technology application at every stage of the travel process – from the point of booking, check-in, through airports, airline boarding, border management, car hire, hotel, cruise and during the journey.
The first pilot envisioned will see travellers on round-trips between Dallas and London airports using biometric technology to conduct security screening, boarding and border control processes before accessing car rental and hotel check-in using the same biometric information. WTTC is working with American Airlines, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Hilton and MSC Cruises on plans for this first step. Finally, the Council has also invited the United States Customs and Border Protection and the UK Border Agency to collaborate on the first pilot.
Gloria Guevara, WTTC President and CEO, said: “By using technology to minimize queues, we can give low-risk travellers more time to enjoy the travel experience. These travellers, by using technology, will be able to spend their time enjoying the experience, shopping at airports or more time at destinations rather than worrying about long queues. Travel and tourism employs one in ten people on the planet today and, over the course of the next 20 years, we will witness a doubling of the number of travellers and the creation of as many as 100 million jobs around the world. We have a responsibility to prepare for the future by transforming the traveller experience while increasing security by working together and with governments.” WTTC will continue to engage with key industry players in the end-to-end journey, as well as collaborate with ACI and IATA through the NEXTT initiative to find a harmonized approach for the implementation of biometrics and digital identity in the travel and tourism sector, while having the customer at the centre.