Blog article - June 07, 2024

Act now or fall behind: EU Digital Wallets are coming and they will change the travel game

The eIDAS 2.0 Regulation is set to transform identification, authentication, and proofs across the EU with immense impact on personal lives as well as businesses. Is the travel industry ready for digital identities and digital travelers?

testimonial-photo By Anke Hsu

The game is changing fast. By mid-2026, the whole travel tech scene will look drastically different. The reason is the new EU regulations. In 24 months, they are rolling out Digital Identity Wallets as part of the eIDAS 2.0 framework. At Chain4Travel, we carefully follow the new regulations and technologies to seize exciting opportunities for travel and travel tech companies.

What is Digital Identity

So, what exactly is “Digital Identity”? The easiest way to think of it is as your physical documents like driver’s license, passport, and credit cards, but all secure and accessible on your smartphone in a digital format. It allows you to prove who you are and access services online without paperwork.

Travel companies are already building and testing such solutions. In 2023, Sita, Indicio, and the Aruba Tourism Authority showcased blockchain-powered Digital Travel Credentials for seamless border crossing. Participants replaced traditional (paper) travel documents with digital ones. Upon arrival, they simply tapped their smartphone at an e-gate, which verified their identity through biometric comparison, allowing them to cross the border without any physical documents.

This example illustrates the transformative potential of new digital blockchain-powered technologies in the travel industry, making travel interactions quicker, safer, and more user-friendly. Some innovative use cases built on top of the blockchain infrastructure of Camino Network and Polygon ID were present at the Decode Travel hackathon in Berlin.

What is EUDI Wallet

Now, let's look at the EUDI Wallet. Suppose a Digital Identity is essentially a digital representation of your personal documents. In that case, the EUDI Wallet, on the other hand, acts like an app on your phone where these digital documents are securely stored. Moreover, this wallet enables smooth interactions with various online services and applications.

Mind that EUDI Wallet is just one out of thousands of wallets that will be available

A very significant change and impact of this technology is hidden behind the ownership of personal data. Today, when you create accounts on different platforms, each of these platforms has to keep your personal information safe. They also need to follow a lot of rules, like GDPR, to make sure they are handling your data properly and protecting your privacy.

With the EUDI Wallet, things will drastically change. This system transforms how platforms manage customers' personal data. Instead of multiple service providers repeatedly collecting identity details, which is inefficient, costly, and risky, the personal data is collected once and securely stored in the wallet. Now, the customer controls and grants access to personal data.

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The EU's vision: A secure and unified Digital Identity across Europe

The EU’s eIDAS 2.0 framework brings the concept across all member states, making Digital Identity a standardized, interoperable system throughout Europe. The vision is clear and very simple: everything should be digital, secure, and unified.

You can read more official documents and follow the updates on the official LinkedIn page of EU Digital Identity.

These changes are particularly pivotal for the travel industry. The adoption of a standardized digital identity simplifies identity verification processes on every level, from getting a ticket to checking a visa at the airport.

However, the clock is ticking. It's time to act, particularly for major players in the industry, as this new regulation will be mandatory, not optional. With only 18 months until the EUDI Wallets become a reality, it is crucial for travel companies to get on board now to seize a strategic opportunity. Businesses and institutions need to start educating their teams to adjust processes from marketing to check-ins at airports and beyond to stay agile with new regulations and frameworks.

Particularly very large online platforms and search engines as defined in the Digital Services Act (so-called VLOPs or VLOSEs), such as, will be obliged to accept EUID-Wallets.

Digital Identity by 2026: what travel tech companies need to prepare for

The Digital Identity frameworks aim to enhance user experience and digital security. The magnitude of these changes is huge. Travel and travel tech companies must understand the urgency of taking action. First, there are the new rules. One has to process them, comply with them, and adopt day-to-day business processes. The shift in data ownership fundamentally changes how companies interact with their customers, particularly in marketing and sales.

The era of cookies for tracking and personalization is coming to an end.

Because the control of personal data is moving back into the hands of individuals, all traditional methods of data collection and advertisement targeting, heavily reliant on cookies, will no longer work. Now, companies will have to build from scratch new strategies to incentivize users and grant them access to personal data.

The big questions executive and business owners in travel-related businesses should address their teams with:

🟠 Are we technically ready for Digital Wallets?

🟠 Do we know how to market and sell products in a new digital realm?

🟠  Is the business strategy aligned with the new regulations?

Given that nothing in the travel industry exists in isolation, are you confident that all your supply chains, providers, and distributors are prepared for this impending change?

Moreover, the rise of AI in travel tech is another side to consider because AI thrives on data. However, with the new model of data management, how will AI access the necessary information? The answer lies in creating systems where AI can interact intelligently and ethically with user-controlled data, ensuring privacy and relevance in its applications. Such a system is blockchain — an immutable, encrypted, and decentralized ledger that brings the rails to build new tech models for existing businesses.

What does it all mean for your business? The digital wallet introduced by eIDAS 2.0 will serve as a cost-saving tool, particularly in areas like KYC (Know Your Customer) processes. Beyond cost savings, the wallet has other benefits like process and operations optimization and digitalization. Moreover, digital wallets open multiple doors to new business models and collaborations.

How do we crush it in the new digital realm?

The web3 travel ecosystem of Camino Network is the place to belong if this article rings the bell and you would like to explore wallet integration, blockchain adoption, and innovations in digital identity. Individuals, startups, and established brands joining the community are actively shaping the future of travel by building on an open-source infrastructure for new travel digital products, ensuring that they comply with new laws and are ready for the new era of connected consumer behavior.

Join the community to learn more about eIDAS 2.0 and EUDI Wallet, tune the products, and evolve as a business!

P.S. Chain4Travel is currently looking for three more innovative companies from airline, hospitality and tour operator verticals willing to join the working group building the Digital Travel Identity pilot. By joining you will get all the information, recent developments and networking to adopt your businesses and prepare for the digital era of connected consumer behaviour. To learn more, please contact us.

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