BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Indonesian president Joko Widodo called for immediate implementation of the ASEAN Travel Corridor, a regional plan that will help restart safe travel and accelerate Southeast Asia’s economic recovery.

Speaking at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit on Monday, the president said vaccinated travel lanes must be established, as well mutual recognition of vaccine certificates. 

“If all ASEAN countries immediately facilitate the safe mobility of people, the wheels of economy shall soon run again,” he said in his virtual keynote address.

Jokowi, as he’s popularly known, said the region has some of the strictest COVID-19 curbs in the world, and that it was time to ease restrictions.

“According to UN-WTO, the level of restrictions in Southeast Asia is the highest in the world, reaching 82 percent.

“With the COVID-19 situation getting more under control, these restrictions could be eased, mobility could be relaxed, while also ensuring that we’re safe from the risk of the pandemic.”

He added that governments need to work together to get 70 percent of the region’s population vaccinated as soon as possible.

Indonesia recently reopened Bali to tourists, and said it will reopen other parts of the country when the vaccination rate exceeds 70 percent.

Digital travel wallet to promote seamless travel in ASEAN

A prototype for a digital travel wallet was also launched at the business summit on Monday in support of the ASEAN Travel Corridor.

The ASEAN Travel Wallet app will allow travellers to obtain, access, store health and vaccination records through an open, shared platform called the ASEAN Digital Gateway.

The platform allows each ASEAN member state to control its own citizens’ data, while issuing only a public key. 

“This will be encrypted as genuine, tamper-proof credentials on private permissioned blockchain,” said Haslina Taib, chair of the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit. 

“The gateway drives standardisation of cross-border and business entry protocols, while respecting data privacy and protecting interests.” 

She called on ASEAN member states and businesses to jointly develop and deploy the ASEAN Digital Gateway and Travel Wallet as a multilateral project, paving the way for economic recovery and safer travel in the region.

“We have the prototype and we are open to everyone to test it,” added Haslina, who is also CEO of Bruneian tech firm, Dynamik Technologies. 

The prototype was jointly developed by Dynamik and ConsenSys, a blockchain software technology company.

“Just like the EU Green [pass], we also want to have other joint-partners involved in configuring, helping design the final milestone.”