Destinations Considering Wearable Devices to Safely Resume Tourism

While some countries have reopened their borders to international travel in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, requiring 14-day quarantines, negative PCR test results and health questionnaires in many cases, other destinations are looking into wearable technologies that could help to safely speed up the industry’s recovery.

According to Travel Weekly, devices like the BioButton from U.S.-based biotech company BioIntelliSense can monitor for coronavirus symptoms and help with contact tracing.

The BioButton, which is roughly the size of a quarter and is worn on the chest is capable of transmitting data such as temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate. The device can also measure how close the wearer is to other BioButton wearers and for how long.

The Cayman Islands plans to implement the wearable when it lifts its current travel restrictions while Singapore has already deployed electronic monitoring devices equipped with Bluetooth and GPS technology to track visitors arriving from approved countries and ensure that they are complying with isolation orders.

Meanwhile, Hawaii is moving forward with “resort bubbles” that would utilize geolocation technology to monitor the movements of hotel guests and alert officials if they venture too far.

Although the rollout of wearable devices that monitor and track visitors could potentially turn off some to travel, industry leaders believe they could be the answer with testing limited and quarantine requirements preventing travelers from experiencing their destination beyond their hotel or resort.

“Travel is the front door to economic development. If we don’t get this thing moving again with [wearable] technologies, this economy and country is going to be in very dire straits,” U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow told Travel Weekly. “That could open the door because right now it doesn’t seem like there’s enough testing available.”

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