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WTTC plans pilot of end-to-end biometrics for seamless traveler journey


The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is planning a pilot in which travelers will take a round-trip between Dallas Fort Worth International Airport or London using biometrics at each point in the journey for a seamless experience, according to an announcement.

In the first of a series of pilots under the WTTC’s Seamless Traveler Journey initiative, all airline security, airport, and border processes, as well as car rental access and hotel check-in will be performed with the same biometric information. Representatives from various industries within the travel and tourism sector, including airlines, airports, hospitality, cruise, car rental, and tour operators will jointly test interconnect technologies in an effort to improve traveler experiences.

“In 2019 travelers between Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and London will be able to experience the future of travel,” says WTTC President and CEO Gloria Guevara. “Our vision is that the traveler won’t need to provide the same information or passport multiple times. Instead, their experience will be seamless, faster and more enjoyable throughout their entire journey. Biometrics will work at every touchpoint of the journey to make travelling easier for the passenger while providing border services with greater security.”

“99.9% of travelers are considered low risk,” Guevara explains. “By using technology to minimize queues, we can give low-risk travelers more time to enjoy the travel experience. These travelers, 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.”

Guevara also said that travel and tourism employs one in ten people worldwide, and that the expected doubling of travelers over the next 20 years creates a responsibility for stakeholders to work together to improve traveler experiences and security. In an interview with Biometric Update earlier this year, Guevara said that stakeholders are already settled on the use of biometrics to do so, but how to harmonize the initiatives of various industries remains to be determined.

For the first step, the WTTC has partnered with American Airlines, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Hilton, and MSC Cruises, and it has also invited U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the UK Border Agency to collaborate on the pilot. Consulting firm Oliver Wyman is also supporting the WTTC’s Seamless Traveler Journey program.

“In our industry, our customers are at the heart of everything we do – we are always looking for new ways to offer them exceptional experiences,” comments Hilton President and CEO and WTTC Chairman Chris Nassetta. “In the near future, travelers will begin to see biometric technologies that will enhance many elements of their journey from start to finish. Thanks to the support of our partners around the world, WTTC is helping create seamless experiences for travelers, encouraging the sustainable growth of travel and tourism.”

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