The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has welcomed a 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,” read the declaration.
Preliminary research prepared by UNWTO and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) estimates 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.
In light of the role of visa facilitation in supporting economic growth and job creation, and given the current economic climate, 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, on the occasion of the 4th Meeting of the T20.
“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.
President Calderón congratulated the T20 on its focus on visa facilitation and assured Ministers he would take their message forward to the G20.
Russia, which holds the 2013 Presidency of the G20, will host the 5th T20 Ministers’ Meeting.