“The cruise industry needs to play its part in fighting visa bureaucracy and deterring more taxation,” according to World Travel & Tourism Council president David Scowsill.
Speaking at the Cruise Shipping Miami Conference, Scowsill complimented the cruise sector for making a vital and rapidly growing contribution to the global tourism industry but called on it to come together with other sectors of the industry to speak with “one voice”.
He also called on the industry to ensure visa processing and taxes, which support growth, remain high on the agenda when discussing policy with governments around the world.
Scowsill explained: “Visa processes are needed which are transparent, cost effective and streamlined to enable travellers to move around the world quickly, efficiently and with minimum hassle.
“The cruise sector is looking to open up new markets including China, where a growing middle class is expressing a desire to cruise and see the world.
“Lengthy and complicated visa processes for potential Chinese, Russian and Indian passengers will hamper that growth.”
WTTC recently undertook a joint study with United Nations World Tourism Organisation to determine the economic value and job creation potential of improvements in visa procedures and policies.
The research showed that improvements within G20 countries could generate up to 112 million additional tourists, increase tourism receipts by up to US$ 206 billion and add five million jobs over three years.
The findings were tabled at the meeting of the G20 ministers of tourism at the WTTC meeting in Mexico last May and the declaration from that meeting was submitted to the G20 Leaders.
It was the first time tourism had been included in the G20 World Leaders’ Declaration.
Scowsill added: “Leaders are beginning to get the message but Governments need to understand how much revenue they are missing out on by not having progressive visa policies.”
He went on to congratulate the cruise industry on being the fastest-growing sector of tourism.
CLIA industry outlooks forecasts 20.9 million passengers will take a cruise in 2013 – an increase of 3.3 per cent on passenger numbers in 2012.
The worldwide cruise market for 2013 is estimated to be worth US$36 billion – up 4.8 per cent on last year.
Total worldwide cruise capacity in 2013 will be around 439,000 passengers - an increase of three per cent on 2012.