Borders are beginning to reopen and some international travel is resuming. However, in the months ahead, governments will need to balance the need to boost economic growth with ongoing health concerns. In this article, our Chief Sales Officer, Simon Peachey, reflects on some of the policy changes that will be required and how we at TLScontact can support their implementation as we move out of this crisis.
I can’t wait to travel again. It’s been such a huge part of my life, for work and pleasure. I’ve been fortunate enough to live on three different continents, visit over 60 countries, meet and learn so much from people all over the world. So, as our partners in governments take the first tentative steps to reopen international travel, I’ve been thinking a lot about how TLScontact can help and support recovery in such a globally important industry.
Recently, Gerco Landman from Accenture posted a fascinating blog article highlighting the role that government visa policy will play in opening up international travel, to support economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. The challenge can’t be overstated. Rebuilding customer confidence will require that policymakers focus on striking the right balance between economic growth and public safety.
Encouraging students and workers from overseas
Landman particularly emphasises the need for measures to support people moving for work, to support sectors such as agriculture. In key markets such as Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine, we work closely with agencies that recruit seasonal workers for the UK agricultural sector, setting up off-site group appointments outside normal business hours to enable their customers to submit their visa applications more easily.
Landman also highlights the importance of countries being accommodating to students from overseas, in the interests not only of the student but also the economic health of educational institutions and the host country.
From 1 July 2021, the UK will open its new Graduate route for international students. Any student enrolling at a UK university will be able stay in the UK after graduation for up to two years in order to look for work related to their degree or course. It’s this flavour of policymaking that will make destination countries more attractive to valued students and so more competitive post-pandemic, as borders reopen.
As a trusted partner to many governments across the world, our role at TLScontact is to manage and optimise many of the processes that flow out of this policymaking. We’re passionate about customer experience and focused on working with our government clients to ensure new requirements are integrated seamlessly into the customer journey.
One of the big benefits we offer clients is the ability to flex capacity to manage additional volumes. This is always important in peak seasons for tourism and in the months before every new academic year. It will be even more valuable this year as we expect a surge of pent up demand for travel across every sector and country we serve.
Facilitating international travel in a post-pandemic environment
Whatever our reason for travelling, we’ll all get used to additional health measures as part of the experience for some time yet. That means governments and partners like TLScontact understanding and trying to reconcile relevant policies at source and destination.
Covid passports and vaccination certificates will play a crucial role, now becoming much clearer, for example with the EU’s digital green certificate set to launch this month. Mutual recognition, inter-operability and co-ordination between public and private sector players in travel and tourism will be challenging but is another area where TLScontact can support government policy implementation.
At TLScontact, our ability to respond, adjust and innovate has been tested and proven this last year. The closure and re-opening of borders and the visa centres we operate for our clients has often been undertaken with only hours of notice. That we have achieved this successfully, adapting our capacity and our processes throughout the crisis, has been testament to the resilience and agility of our global teams, and our investment in technology in recent years.
We have been able to flex and respond to support vaccination campaigns, form partnerships with COVID-19 testing providers, and introduce services to reassure and protect travellers when they reach their destination.
It’s this combination of human ingenuity and technological innovation that will be critical in supporting government policy and global mobility. Whether it’s the facilitation of COVID-19 testing before and after travel, or the integration of vaccination certification and validation into the visa issuance process, our people and platforms are ready to make it happen.
Landman’s original article concluded by highlighting that the right visa policies will be key to balancing public health requirements with the drive to restart international travel and achieve economic recovery. I wholeheartedly agree and would add that the outcome, principally driven by the customer and traveller experience, will only be as good as the application of those policies. Significant responsibility lies with government partners such as TLScontact to prepare and respond quickly, effectively, and collaboratively. We are ready.
Article written by Simon Peachey
Chief Sales Officer