Tourism ministers to debate visa regulations

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The issue of visas will be top of the agenda this month when the world’s tourism ministers gather at the World Travel Market (WTM) in London.

Western countries are under pressure to ease tight visa controls
Western countries are under pressure to ease tight visa controls

Following the G20 Leaders’ declaration earlier this year, which committed to work on “travel facilitation initiatives in support of job creation, quality work, poverty reduction and global growth”, this year’s UNWTO & WTM Ministers’ Summit will run under the theme ‘Open Borders and Open Skies: Breaking Barriers to Travel’ and will aim to devise ways countries can work together to ease entry procedures for tourists, while at the same time stimulating economic growth and creating jobs.

“While important steps have been taken over the past few years to facilitate travel, millions of people continue to face unnecessary barriers to travel such as overly complicated and expensive visa processes,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “These obstacles are not just barriers to travel; they are barriers to economic growth at a time when we need it most. UNWTO and World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) research shows that facilitating visas among the G20 countries would create an additional five million jobs by 2015, for example. The Ministers’ Summit is our chance to push ahead with the necessary travel facilitation measures that will allow tourism to continue generating jobs and prosperity worldwide,” he added. 

Confirmed attendees at the summit include more than 70 tourism ministers including those from Indonesia, Mexico, the Philippines, South Africa and the United Kingdom, plus private sector representatives from the WTTC, TUI Travel, Etihad Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, IATA and Travelport.

The debate will take place in London on 6 November 2012.

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