July 29, 2022

SITA unveils eVisa and ETA to meet digital travel demand

categories : tourism

SITA, a leading IT provider to the air transport industry, has launched SITA eVisa and SITA Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) to meet the rapidly growing demand from governments for digital visa systems.

Governments globally are shifting to modern travel authorization solutions, like electronic visas and Electronic Travel Authorizations (ETAs). According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), traditional visas – applications made via a consulate or embassy – decreased from 77% in 2008 to 53% in 2018.

The advantages of digital authorization solutions include improved security, reduced administrative burden, easier travel, and increased visitor flows, promoting spending that benefits local economies and creates employment. For example, one government’s introduction of an eVisa scheme covering 40 plus countries in 2014-2015 led to a 21% increase in international visitor arrivals and the creation of 800,000 jobs accounted for around 20% of the growth seen in the country’s travel and tourism over the period.

SITA has deployed border management solutions for over 25 years to support cross-border mobility while safeguarding borders, helping over 70 countries today. In 1996, SITA pioneered the first ETA system for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The aim was to give authorities advance visibility into the huge influx of tourists crossing the border, helping to reduce immigration bottlenecks.

For one major government customer in Asia Pacific, SITA’s ETA system enables over 3 million ETAs to be issued each year, 96% of applications result in the automatic issuance of an authorization, and 99% of all applications are successfully processed in less than 12 hours.

The mobile capability of SITA’s new eVisa and ETA capability allows travellers to make applications and provide their biometric information using their personal devices before they travel. For travellers, this is simpler, more convenient, and less time-consuming than applying for more complex traditional or on-arrival visas. For governments, they can biometrically verify the applicant’s identity. The mobile app also creates ICAO-compliant Digital Travel Credentials (DTCs) – a development in digital identity for travel that may replace physical passports in the future.

SITA’s eVisa and ETA solutions provide visas containing ICAO’s Visible Digital Seal (VDS), an encrypted bar code that enables visas and ETAs, paper or electronic, to be digitally verified for authenticity, offering enhanced security and fraud prevention.

Jeremy Springall, Head of SITA At Borders, said: “Adopting eVisa and ETA supports national prosperity. We’ve productized our proven and robust travel authorization systems to benefit more nations around the world as they shift to digitalize and future-proof their borders. The solutions help countries to cope with growing passenger volumes, improve security and efficiency, and deliver a more seamless travel experience that travellers demand, removing the complexities of applying for traditional visas”.

Springall added: “The adaptability of these two solutions means that they are fully interoperable with existing border control and airline systems. And, they comply with international standards and best practices.

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