Visa facilitation is placed as a priority aiming to stimulate economic growth and generate more jobs via tourism
“Clear progress has been made in the area of visa facilitation in recent years, namely among the G20 economies,” UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said on the occasion of the 5th T.20 Ministers’ Meeting (gathering the Ministers of Tourism of the G20 economies) that took place recently in London, UK.
During the meeting, ministers debated the progress on visa facilitation policies among the G20 economies following 2012 Los Cabos Declaration, in which G20 Leaders recognizing the “role of travel and tourism as a vehicle for job creation, economic growth and development” committed to work on “travel facilitation initiatives in support of job creation, quality work, poverty reduction and global growth.”
“Many countries have opened up unilaterally and advanced visa facilitation policies,” Mr. Rifai said.
The UNWTO Secretary-General said that despite significant advances, there is still room for improvement particularly when it is proven that visa facilitation translates into more income and more jobs as the tourism sector grows.
Improvements in the area of visa facilitation among the G20 economies include externalization of the visa application process to reduce waiting times and increase capacity, more capacity in consulates as well as the opening of new consulates, particularly in key emerging markets, multi-entry visas and exemption of visas for transit passengers.
A UNWTO/WTTC report shows that visa facilitation among the G20 economies could create as much as 5.1 million additional jobs through 2015 and generate $ 206 billion extra in exports (international tourism receipts).
Countries participating in the meeting included Argentina, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey, the UK and the US.