UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, last month called on the tourism sector to unite around the issue of travel facilitation as a means to stimulate demand and, as a result, create jobs.
“It is in this belief that UNWTO has joined the voices of the sector such as the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the World Economic Forum (WEF), to advance this important issue,” he said.
On the sidelines of ITB 2012, the UNWTO, WTTC and the WEF travel and tourism working group were said to have held a joint meeting for the first time and discussed the topics of the 2012 G-20 Mexico Summit, which will be held in June 2012.
According to Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Yeroulanos, visa application efficiency may be an integral part of this year’s G20 agenda.
“The visa does nothing to control illegal immigration… Instead it blocks the development of tourism,” he recently told Greek journalists.
Antonio Tajani, the European Commissioner responsible for tourism, recently called for a modern visa policy to attract the growing middle classes in Russia, China, India and Brazil to European Union countries.
He told the press that the time had come for European states to regard the sector as essential for growth, especially in those southern European states that are still suffering in the eurozone sovereign debt crisis.