Traveller Letters: It seems Australia's vaccine certificates won't work in Italy

LETTER OF THE WEEK

UNION MOVEMENTS

For fellow travellers like ourselves, the prospect of travelling overseas in 2022 has been greeted with a mixture of some trepidation but mostly excitement with the resumption of overseas travel. Unfortunately, as Michael Gebicki highlights (Traveller, December 23), the Australian Government's International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate (ICVC) is not universally recognised in Europe. This has caused more than a few headaches for our proposed trip to Italy. Italy's Green Pass system is unavailable to us, as it appears from our research.

Nor it seems is an EU digital certificate as Australia is not a certified country member. We may get away with accessing dining and accommodation venues there with the ICVC but we have been informed that without a Green Pass we cannot board a domestic flight to Sicily, booked the morning after we land in Rome. This would prevent us from meeting up with our tour group.

Do we take the plunge and go anyway and hope it all works out on arrival? Because of the risks and the inability to acquire the appropriate vaccination certificates, Italy in 2022 for us is seeming more and more like a distant dream.

Anne Moorhouse, Inverloch, VIC

UNSOLVED CASE

Never mind jabs, PCRs or border passes. Who else is having trouble just packing a suitcase? I printed off my trusty travel checklist, but it seems to be written in some strange code:  "Cancel papers? Passport? Ticket? Reading light?" What do these words mean? I only have a week to crack the code! Time is running out.

Jenny Mooney, Karuah, NSW

HAM FISTED

My wife and I recently flew to Melbourne on Qantas. The only food on offer was a chicken and ham pie. Since vegetarianism is now quite popular, and since the ham would offend both Jews and Muslims, surely Qantas could provide something that would be more acceptable. Most meat eaters do not object to the occasional vegetarian meal.

Richard Grant, Roseville, NSW

FLY BUYS

As Christmas approaches, we decorate our tree with the Christmas mementos that we have collected: a glass angel from Venice, a reindeer sleigh from Rovaniemi and small pieces from many of the Christmas Markets we've visited, whilst travelling to nearly 80 countries throughout the world. As we have virtually no opportunity to travel at present under COVID, each of these mementos bring the memories flooding back. Hopefully in time, as we are able to return to travelling, we will be able to add to our collection and, of course, our memories.

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Glenn Earl-Peacock, Mosman, NSW

PRETTY FLAMINGOS

Max Simmons' letter (Traveller Letters, December 11), relating to Orbetello in Tuscany brought back fantastic memories of great people, excellent seafood and stunning beaches. One of the many highlights was witnessing the annual migration of thousands of flamingos to the wetlands. I cycled all across the peninsula and never failed to meet friendly locals and eat some of the best seafood I have ever had. I will return for a third time when things settle and use the brilliant local B&Bs. History nerds will love the place, from its Etruscan settlements to its World War II seaplane base.

Mark Cosgrove, Albury, NSW

FROM APP-LESS TO HAPLESS

Cairan Beard was spot on (Traveller Letters, December 3). A UK trip would be ruined if you were "pinged" as a close contact and forced into   isolation for 10 days, with Australian vaccines not recognised. On December 10, UK legislation was enacted to accept overseas vaccinations for the National Health Service's Track & Trace system, but a new hurdle presented itself: UK theatres and nightclubs will only accept the NHS Covid Vaccine Status app on entry. Australian certificates on the Medicare app or in print, are curtly refused. For the NHS app, you need Australian vaccinations entered on an NHS record and that requires an NHS number, a letter from an Australian GP and an original vaccination certificate. This is then registered with a UK GP who enters the vaccines into your NHS record. This painful process takes a month. I really hope UK pubs and shops don't start checking vaccine status under Boris Johnson's Plan C, or flying to the UK could result in you going nowhere. Oh, for an international vaccine app.

J Lorkin, Sydney, NSW

DISEMBARKING MAD

How difficult would it be for airlines to require passengers to remain seated until they are called by rows to disembark, rather than crowding in the centre aisle, encouraging COVID transmission?

Lis Haddy, North Balwyn, VIC

LESTE, WE FORGET

In his story on the best places to visit in our region (Traveller, December 11), Ben Groundwater urges us to get to know our neighbours. Such a pity then that he fails to mention one of our closest, namely East Timor. With the planet's most biodiverse tropical reefs and the only place in the world where you can swim with blue whales, East Timor is a safe, friendly and beautiful country. It has a rich Indigenous and Portuguese colonial history and its mountains were a significant fighting ground for our soldiers in World War II. With Qantas starting direct flights from Sydney to Dili and with no quarantine requirements, I urge Ben to visit East Timor and experience such a wonderful country that sits right on our doorstep.

Simon Benedict, Kensington, VIC

MONEY FOR NOTHING

Sadly, Rae Masman (Traveller Letters, December 11), the travel agent does not make 10 per cent commission on bookings. The store makes the commission, and the agent takes a percentage of that, in the vicinity of 15 per cent. Flights rarely pay commission higher than five per cent, and that's on the price without taxes. The agent depends on commissions and mark-ups as the base salary is normally in the $30,000 range. If you're not happy with that, feel free to book online. Don't ask people to do something for nothing when you could be doing it yourself.

Rob Minney, Merrylands, NSW

BURGER BEEF

McDonald's does not make the laws regarding what must be done in respect to entry to their restaurants in NSW (Traveller Letters, December 11) during the COVID pandemic. It's the NSW government which makes the regulations for NSW and these regulations can change, just as they have  in Victoria. As presented, I believe the letter makes out that it is the restaurant's policy on COVID disclosure which is incorrect (and I am in no way connected to the Golden Arches).

Jeff Budden, Kootingal, NSW

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