Like many Caribbean islands, Aruba depends on tourism, and has launched a high-tech service to streamline Covid testing and vaccination reporting, to make it easier for tourists to visit.
The new program eliminates the wait for a visitor’s PCR test results to be verified and also the need to upload test vaccination certificates.
Aruba has partnered with two high-tech companies to make the program work.
OK2Roam automates the process of sending PCR test results from government-approved labs directly to Aruba’s Embarkation-Disembarkation card entry platform, to be accepted instantly.
VFS Global is a passport and visa management system which has built an international network of government-approved COVID-19 testing laboratories.
Both companies offer secure data platforms for sharing such personal and vital information.
As part of the entry process to Aruba, the ED card registration is mandatory for all travelers, including minors and infants. Proof of a negative PCR test within 72 hours prior to entering the country also is required of all travelers over the age of 11, including visitors already vaccinated.
Speeding the Entry Process
A major challenge for the health and border-security forces of many countries, including Caribbean island nations like Aruba, is to physically inspect PCR tests prior to granting access.
It’s a delicate balance between rigorous review and swift response time for travelers. But with this new approach, with the travelers’ consent, PCR test results can be fed directly from a trusted laboratory to the Aruban Immigration Authority via OK2Roam’s secure technical platform.
What was a time-consuming manual process is now done electronically, in lightning speed, getting visitors out of the airport and to the famous Aruba beaches faster and with less stress.
Initially, it will be available in Canada and the U.S., from Stage Zero Life Sciences and from Same Day Health. The new service is not limited to an airline or airport. All travelers can use it, provided they test with a participating lab.
Travelers will have the choice of taking a video-supervised saliva test in the comfort of their own home or going to a test center in more than 50 locations across the US.
Advantages of Electronic Reporting for Tourism
“Throughout the pandemic, and even before, Aruba has been keen to embrace the latest technology to make our destination more welcoming and people’s travel experience more seamless,” said Danguillaume Oduber, Aruba’s minister of tourism and public health. He is confident the new program “also has the advantage that it will likely save us time, money and administrative complexity.”
Chris Dix, head of business development for VFS Global, said his company is eager to see its project with OK2Roam and Aruba succeed. “Once it is successfully launched and delivers the projected benefits, we are confident of being able to help many of our client governments make their borders more efficient and more bio-secure,” he said.
David Tarsh, CEO and co-founder of OK2Roam, said recent research from IATA validates his company’s approach: passengers loath queuing and 73 percent of them would willingly share their biometric data to receive a better travel experience. “With Aruba, we are taking the world one step closer to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s vision of a seamless traveler journey, enabled by the latest technology,” he said.
Throughout the pandemic Aruba has done exceptionally well at maintaining inbound tourism while simultaneously mitigating the spread of COVID-19 among locals. The island’s focus on innovative technology, such as that deployed by its online ED Card platform, is one of the primary reasons for its success.
VFS Global is the world’s largest visa outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions worldwide, used by 63 governments, including Australia, Canada, China, India, Korea, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, U.K., and most EU and Schengen member states.
Early in the pandemic, VFS Global acted swiftly to build a global network of government-approved testing laboratories, in order to provide a comprehensive service for those of its customers who needed to travel during the pandemic. Currently, VFS Global’s lab network covers multiple collection points in 271 cities, in 46 countries and growing.
Details of the new service are available on Aruba’s official visitor website at www.Aruba.com.
Travelers can book their test by visiting www.VFSGlobal.com/Aruba.
See you on the beach!
Thanks to the travel trade publication Insider Travel Report for alerting ecoXplorer to this travel technology story.