ETW STAFF – Mumbai
G20 economies could boost their international tourist numbers by an additional 122 million, generate an extra US$ 206 billion in international tourism receipts and create over 5 million additional jobs by 2015 by improving visa processes, according to preliminary research by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and UNWTO presented on the occasion of the T20 Ministers’ Meeting in Merida, Mexico recently.
Preliminary findings show that of the 656 million international tourists who visited G20 countries in 2011, 110 million needed a visa, while millions more were deterred from traveling by the cost, waiting time and difficulty of obtaining a visa. Referring particularly to the dramatic situation of unemployment, UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai, called on G20 governments to look into enhancing visa facilitation in support of job creation. He remarked, “Small steps towards visa facilitation can result in big economic benefits. By facilitating visas, the G20 countries stand to gain 5 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.”
David Scowsill, president & CEO, WTTC, said, “Encouraging freedom to travel is a simple step that governments around the world can take to encourage more travellers and the creation of millions of new jobs and billions of dollars of GDP – without compromising national security. For the first time, this report makes clear the extent of the opportunity – it cannot be ignored.”