Ease visa restrictions, UNWTO urges G20

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Of the 656 million international tourists who visited G20 countries in 2011, an estimated 110 million needed a visa
Of the 656 million international tourists who visited G20 countries in 2011, an estimated 110 million needed a visa

Ahead of the G20 world leaders’ meeting in Mexico this week, the UNWTO and World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) have called on the world leaders to ease visa restrictions and use tourism to drive job creation and economic growth. 

According to a research study conducted by the two organisations, presented at the T20 Ministers’ Meeting last month, G20 economies could add 122 million tourist arrivals, generate an extra US$206 billion in tourism receipts and create more than five million additional jobs by 2015 by improving visa processes and entry formalities.

“Travel and tourism has the potential to create millions of new jobs and billions of dollars of GDP in G20 countries. We call on the world leaders to take the necessary steps to realise that potential through removing unnecessary visa restrictions. We applaud the actions of the Mexican Government in allowing holders of US visas to enter Mexico and the Obama administration for committing to improve visa processing from emerging markets.

“Steps like these towards visa facilitation can result in big economic benefits. By facilitating visas, the G20 countries stand to gain five million jobs at a time of rampant unemployment across the world. These are in addition to the hundreds of millions of direct and indirect jobs already being supported every day by the sector,” said a joint statement by UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai and WTTC President & CEO, David Scowsill.

Of the 656 million international tourists who visited G20 countries in 2011, an estimated 110 million needed a visa, and the UNWTO and WTTC believe the cost and red tape associated with visa processes deterred millions of others.

“In an era of globalisation, states have the opportunity to promote travel and tourism as an economic activity, whilst maintaining national security and we invite them to consider leveraging new technology, including electronic visa processes and delivery, as appropriate to the visa regime of each State, to make travel more accessible, convenient and efficient,” the two leaders added.

 

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