WTTC and Aruba team up to pilot biometric travel
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and the Government of Aruba have joined forces to harness biometric technology to improve the traveller experience.
The new partnership has been formed to launch the world’s first pilot that links aviation and non-air destination services, transforming the traveller journey by using biometric technology to create a seamless secure and easy travel experience from flight to car rental and hotel check-in while also improving border security and business efficiency.
According to the latest WTTC research, the Travel & Tourism sector contributes 10.4 per cent of global GDP and 319 million jobs to the world. With an investment in new aviation infrastructure, including runways, terminals and new technologies such as biometrics, WTTC estimates that between 12 million and 31 million additional Travel & Tourism jobs could be created across the world by 2028.
The ‘Aruba Happy Flow’ is the world’s first seamless passenger facilitation that was launched in 2015 and will be extended with this pilot to include car rental and hotel check in. It will enable travellers to move more efficiently, faster and more securely through every part of the travel experience, using biometric technology throughout the entire traveller journey with pilot participants.
Due to launch in 2020, the Aruba Happy Flow hotel and car rental extension will allow travellers to trial the application of biometric technology at every stage of the travel process, from arrival, border management, collecting the car rental and checking in at the hotel.
With support from WTTC, the global body that represents the private sector of the Travel & Tourism sector, under its Seamless Traveller Journey initiative, representatives from several industries within Travel & Tourism – such as airlines, airports, hospitality and car rental – will be able to jointly test different technologies, that interconnect and work to improve the experience for the traveller.
The Aruba Happy Flow as launched in 2015, is the result of co-operation between the Government of Aruba, Aruba Airport Authority, KLM, Royal Schiphol Group, the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security, the Koninklijke Marechaussee and Vision-Box.
Happy Flow passengers provide their identity only once when travelling, with the data then processed securely, satisfying organisations and government agencies throughout the journey. The traveller can then pass through checkpoints during the journey using only facial recognition, making it a completely touch-free process.
For the innovative pilot, extending the Happy Flow with a car rental and hotel, travellers arriving at Aruba’s Reina Beatrix International Airport will be able to use breakthrough biometric technology provided by Vision-Box. Participating hotels in the pilot are Divi Aruba Resorts and the Bucuti and Tara Beach Resort, and the local Hertz Car Rental franchise in Aruba is the car rental partner.
Evelyna C. Wever-Croes, Prime Minister of Aruba, said: “Tourism is important for Aruba and innovation is one of my government’s key policy drivers.
“Aruba is therefore proud to partner with WTTC for this innovative pilot that is crucial for the future of Travel and Tourism. Biometric recognition provides stakeholders in the travel eco system a secure identity check of their passenger, or client or guest.
“The data sharing between the stakeholders enabled by the shared platform is completed securely and accurately. The real time and/or advanced information generated makes the processes of all stakeholders more efficient and enhances the service they provide. One secure identity check of the passenger, performed under government supervision, is accepted by the other stakeholders.
“At the current Aruba Happy Flow process passengers enrol and check in by presenting a passport and from then on, only need to show their face to pass bag drop, immigration and boarding.”
Gloria Guevara, WTTC’s president & CEO, said: “Our Seamless Traveller Journey programme’s vision is that the traveller will no longer need to provide personal information and passport details on multiple occasions. Instead, their entire journey will be seamless, faster and more enjoyable throughout.
“Biometrics will work at every touchpoint of the journey to make travelling easier, while providing border services with greater security. We commend the Government of Aruba’s commitment and taking advantage of the very latest cutting-edge biometric technology and look forward to supporting their work.
“We call on other governments to take inspiration from Aruba’s efforts and to test the technology already available to see what works best for their needs.”