Aruba preps full launch of passport-free arrivals process


The Aruba Tourism Authority will launch its digital travel credential for all travelers coming to the island nation beginning in March 2024. 

The credential enables arriving visitors to complete pre-boarding verification and pass through border checkpoints without providing a physical passport.

The system has been created in partnership with SITA and Indicio and launched as a test in late March. 

Aruba calls its credential the “Aruba Happy One Pass” or AHOP. Through AHOP, travelers can turn their physical passports into verifiable digital credentials on their mobile devices and, through biometric checks done by SITA’s automatic border control gates at the Aruba airport, are matched to their passport images via facial recognition. 

“Adding biometrics to Aruba HOP’s capabilities is an important step toward transforming global travel,” said Heather Dahl, CEO of Indicio.

“It adds a critical element to identity verification, binding the credential to a person’s device so that we can be sure that when it’s used, it’s the credential owner using it. This provides the final element of trust to accelerate Aruba’s digital transformation of the travel and tourism experience. We are excited to see this result from our ground-breaking work with our partner SITA and where it will go next.”

Aruba has been one of the first countries to experiment with and now implement this sort of process, which enables travelers to hold their own data and biometrics, eliminating the need for data storage through a third-party. The system streamlines border control’s flow, cutting wait times while also reducing risk of error, identity theft or fraud.

"The emergence of digital identities means we will be able to travel from anywhere to everywhere – by air, land or sea – without needing to show physical travel documents,” said Jeremy Springall, senior vice president of SITA at Borders.

"This latest demonstration with AHOP represents a significant step forward in the shift towards digital travel. A critical feature of the technology is that it puts passengers first, following privacy-by-design principles that give passengers complete control of their data and permitting them to consent to sharing data when needed.”

Aruba’s minister of tourism and public health, Dangui Oduber, said he envisions AHOP as a “launching pad” for digital transformation across many sectors on the island such as hospitality, events and services.

During a Center Stage session at The Phocuswright Conference, Oduber, Dahl and SITA director of digital identity, Michael Zureik, spoke about the work they are doing together. Watch the full discussion below.

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