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Travel industry continues to invest in biometrics, showing 14% spend increase

Travel industry continues to invest in biometrics, showing 14% spend increase

Travel is becoming increasingly technologized and biometrics is a key part of the transformation, according to new data from Amadeus. A press release says the firm’s Travel Technology Investment Trends report shows adoption by airlines, airports, corporate travel managers and hotels is driving a projected 14 percent increase in tech investment for 2024, as the sector prioritizes machine learning, data analytics, facial recognition, digital payments and extended reality.

For airlines, in particular, biometrics and facial recognition are becoming standard, with 98 percent saying they have implemented or plan to implement biometric systems at their airport terminals, and 60 percent looking to incorporate biometrics into check-in, bag-drop, lounge and boarding for a fully integrated biometric airport experience in the next five years. As traffic hubs and border crossings, airports are expected to post the largest increase in tech spend this year at 17 percent, with corporations, hotels and airlines following in descending order, Amadeus found.

Like most sectors, the travel industry has its eye on generative AI and machine learning for data analytics, which are ranked among the most important technologies now and for the next five years.

APAC region airports pursue biometrics as part of digital transformation

Gold Coast Airport in Queensland, Australia is among those embracing a digital future, with the announcement of plans to add a retail village, health and wellness hub and conference and tech center ahead of the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games in neighboring Brisbane. A release says the plan, which places a strong focus on accessibility and seamless transit connections, includes biometric verification for check-in and personalized services based on a user’s travel history and preferences.

Amelia Evans, CEO of Gold Coast Airport parent company Queensland Airports Limited, says the upgrades aim to create an airport of the future, “embracing innovation and new technologies that will revolutionize air travel and enhance the customer experience.”

Singaporeans heading to Bali can access that future now, with the activation of 30 automated e-gates at Ngurah Rai International Airport that expedite the immigration process to between 15 and 25 seconds per visitor, according to the Straits-Times. To use the e-gates, travelers from Singapore must have a biometric passport and have registered their visit to Indonesia online, including the submission of personal details, a photo of their passport, a selfie for immigration, and a valid visa.

Japan and Hawaii are brokering a similar deal aimed at easing travel between the two destinations, to drive tourism and economic growth. A release from the office of Hawaii governor Josh Green says the Hawaii Department of Transportation is working to leverage biometric systems through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Mobile Passport Control program, to verify travelers’ identities, tighten border security and find cost efficiencies between the two Pacific hubs.

European Council rolls out new passenger data regulations

With new conveniences come new rules. A release from the Council of the European Union says European Parliament negotiators have reached a provisional agreement on regulations governing the collection and handling of advance passenger information (API) for border management and law enforcement purposes. Positioned as a tool to prevent crime and terrorism, the agreement means passengers can be identified before their arrival at the EU’s external borders, but also on flights within the EU. Automatic collection of API data contained in travel documents (e.g. machine-readable passports) is also mandatory. Data will be centralized through a single router for easier access.

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