Visa reform got another boost from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), who welcomed the declaration issued by the Tourism Ministers of the G20 economies (T20) calling for priority to be given to facilitating travel as a means to boost economic growth and create jobs.
“To ensure that tourism can play a key role in creating employment opportunities, both directly and indirectly through linkages to the local economy, raising national income, improving the balance of payments and boosting economic growth, priority should be given to facilitating travel and tourism,” the declaration said.
Preliminary research prepared by UNWTO and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) recently estimated that certain improvements to visa processes could create an additional five million jobs for the G20 economies by 2015 and generate an additional US$ 206 billion in international tourism receipts.
The Declaration encourages the G20 to leverage new technologies to make travel “more accessible, convenient and more efficient without a diminution of national security.” It further proposes countries look into increasing cooperation on bilateral, regional and international travel facilitation regimes.
“UNWTO applauds the commitment of the G20 Ministers of Tourism to visa facilitation,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai. “This Declaration is an extremely positive signal to the international community that we are moving ahead on this issue of vital importance to the tourism sector and the global economy.”
The Ministers of Tourism and Heads of Delegations of the G20 countries met with the President of Mexico and current G20 Chair, Felipe Calderón, as well as with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, Patricia Espinosa in Mérida, Mexico in earlier this month.
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