The WTTC and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation made their case for the job creation at the T20 meeting of tourism ministers in Merida, a resort town on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsular. It was stated that the G20’s role was important in this, and that the action could also boost international tourist numbers by an additional 122 million, while generating an extra USD206 billion in tourism exports by 2015.
Key to the evidence presented were findings showing that of the 656 million tourists that visited G20 countries in 2011, 110 million had to apply for a visa, and it is estimated that millions more ultimately chose not to travel due to the cost, waiting time and general difficulty of obtaining a visa. Easier provision of visas for these tourists is estimated to have the potential to provide over five million jobs across the G20 economies, while generating an additional USD 206bn in international tourism revenue.
According to WTTC president, David Scowsill, ‘Encouraging freedom to travel is a simple step that governments around the world can take to encourage more travellers and the creation of millions of new jobs and billions of dollars of GDP, without compromising national security. For the first time, this report makes clear the extent of the opportunity, it cannot be ignored.’
UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai, said, ‘Small steps towards visa facilitation can result in big economic benefits. By facilitating visas, the G20 countries stand to gain five million jobs at a time of rampant unemployment across the world. These are in addition to the hundreds of millions of direct and indirect jobs already being supported every day by the sector.’