Aruba has launched a service that eases the process of entering the island during the pandemic. According to a press release, the new service – created in partnership with OK2Roam – eliminates “the need to make travelers wait for their PCR test results to be manually verified” and the need to upload test certificates.
The service helps travelers authorize an approved laboratory to send their negative test results directly to Aruba’s Embarkation-Disembarkation card (ED card) entry platform. The result will be “instantly accepted,” according to the press release.
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, is also required of all travelers over the age of 11, including those already vaccinated.
According to the press release, the new service is being provided by VFS Global, which has built an international network of government-approved COVID-19 testing laboratories, and OK2Roam, which is providing a secure data connection between the lab network and Aruba’s online ED entry platform.
Initially, the service will be available in Canada and the U.S., from Stage Zero Life Sciences and from Same Day Health. 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 U.S.
With this new approach, with travelers’ consent, PCR test results can be fed directly from a trusted laboratory to the Aruban Immigration Authority, via OK2Roam’s secure technical platform. This resolves the challenge of many departments of health and border-security forces of managing the “trade-off between a rigorous review and swift response time for travelers,” according to the press release.
“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. This excellent idea, which we are delighted to pioneer with OK2Roam and VFS Global, also has the advantage that it will likely save us time, money and administrative complexity too,” said Aruba’s Minister of Tourism and Public Health, Danguillaume Oduber.
The Head of Business Development at VFS Global, Chris Dix, said that his company was “eager” to see the project made 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,” Dix said.
According to the CEO and Co-Founder of OK2Roam, David Tarsh, a recent IATA research has validated the company’s approach.
“Passengers loath queuing … 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 and Tourism Council’s vision of a seamless traveler journey, enabled by the latest technology,” Tarsh said.