International tourism an engine for the economic recovery | World Tourism Organization UNWTO

UNWTO logoIn the first nine months of 2013, international tourism grew by 5% according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. The number of international tourist arrivals reported by destinations around the world increased by some 41 million between January and September, growing above UNWTO’s initial forecast and creating an important stimulus to the receiving economies. International tourist arrivals grew by 5% in the first nine months of the year, to reach a record 845 million worldwide, an estimated 41 million more than in the same period of 2012. Growth was driven by Europe and Asia and the Pacific, both seeing tourist numbers increase by 6%.“International tourism continues to grow above expectations, supporting economic growth in both advanced and emerging economies and bringing much needed support to job creation, GDP and the balance of payments of many destinations” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “It is particularly encouraging to see the strong results in many European destinations, where the tourism sector is, undoubtedly, one of the engines of the economic recovery”.

via International tourism an engine for the economic recovery | World Tourism Organization UNWTO.

Tourism Ministers call for higher policy coordination between tourism and aviation

Tourism Ministers call for higher policy coordination between tourism and aviation

Improving air connectivity through a closer coordination of tourism and aviation policies to ensure the sustained growth of the tourism sector and of air transport was the commitment stemming from the annual UNWTO & World Travel Market (WTM) Ministers´ Summit (London, United Kingdom, 5 November 2013).

Critical issues related to bridging air transport and tourism policies, including the current regulatory framework, taxation and the way forward in facilitating the all travel process were discussed in a panel debate that gathered Tourism Ministers and private sector representatives from around the world.

“It is clear that in spite of the interdependent relationship between aviation and tourism, greater efforts must be exerted by both sectors to achieve an integrated policy position to ensure a more sustainable and competitive growth,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.

Speakers highlighted technology, public-public partnerships across government, regional cooperation and investment in soft infrastructure – technology and human resources – as keys to bridge the gap between tourism and air transport policies and promote travel facilitation.

Taxation and a regulatory framework still limited in most cases by reciprocity in air transport agreements were pointed as two of the main barriers to the sustained growth of tourism and air transport. The impact of increasingly high taxes on air transport was identified as a particular impediment to the development of destinations with a significant tourism sector and which are highly depended on air lift such as the Caribbean.

The panel, moderated by Charles Hodson, anchor of CNN International´s flagship business programme, “World Business Today”, brought together H.R.H. Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, President & Chairman of the Board of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, the Ministers and Secretaries of State for Tourism of Indonesia, Lebanon, Mexico, Morocco, the Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Africa and Spain as well as the President and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the Vice President of Government Affairs of Amadeus, the Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the Vice President for Europe of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Director of the Air Transport Bureau of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The discussion was enriched by the participation of over 80 Ministers attending the event.

Currently, over half of the one billion tourists traveling the world arrive at their destination by air, and according to UNWTO´s long-term forecast, by 2030, air transport will be the principal means of travel by 52% of all international tourists. 

UNWTO announced the holding of an Africa Conference of Ministers of Tourism and Transport to be held next year in the Seychelles in cooperation with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to continue promoting the important link between tourism and air transport.

Useful links:

UNWTO/WTM Ministers´ Summit

Photos from UNWTO/WTM Ministers´ Summit

Improving air connectivity through a closer coordination of tourism and aviation policies to ensure the sustained growth of the tourism sector and of air transport was the commitment stemming from the annual UNWTO & World Travel Market (WTM) Ministers´ Summit (London, United Kingdom, 5 November 2013).

Critical issues related to bridging air transport and tourism policies, including the current regulatory framework, taxation and the way forward in facilitating the all travel process were discussed in a panel debate that gathered Tourism Ministers and private sector representatives from around the world.

“It is clear that in spite of the interdependent relationship between aviation and tourism, greater efforts must be exerted by both sectors to achieve an integrated policy position to ensure a more sustainable and competitive growth,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.

Speakers highlighted technology, public-public partnerships across government, regional cooperation and investment in soft infrastructure – technology and human resources – as keys to bridge the gap between tourism and air transport policies and promote travel facilitation.

Taxation and a regulatory framework still limited in most cases by reciprocity in air transport agreements were pointed as two of the main barriers to the sustained growth of tourism and air transport. The impact of increasingly high taxes on air transport was identified as a particular impediment to the development of destinations with a significant tourism sector and which are highly depended on air lift such as the Caribbean.

The panel, moderated by Charles Hodson, anchor of CNN International´s flagship business programme, “World Business Today”, brought together H.R.H. Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, President & Chairman of the Board of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, the Ministers and Secretaries of State for Tourism of Indonesia, Lebanon, Mexico, Morocco, the Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Africa and Spain as well as the President and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the Vice President of Government Affairs of Amadeus, the Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the Vice President for Europe of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Director of the Air Transport Bureau of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The discussion was enriched by the participation of over 80 Ministers attending the event.

Currently, over half of the one billion tourists traveling the world arrive at their destination by air, and according to UNWTO´s long-term forecast, by 2030, air transport will be the principal means of travel by 52% of all international tourists. 

UNWTO announced the holding of an Africa Conference of Ministers of Tourism and Transport to be held next year in the Seychelles in cooperation with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to continue promoting the important link between tourism and air transport.

Useful links:

UNWTO/WTM Ministers´ Summit

Photos from UNWTO/WTM Ministers´ Summit

T.20 Ministers commit to continue working to improve visa facilitation

T.20 Ministers commit to continue working to improve visa facilitation

The T.20 Ministers´ meeting in London agreed to continue placing visa facilitation as a priority in the aim of stimulating economic growth and generate more jobs through of tourism. (London, United Kingdom, 4 November 2013).

The 5th T.20 Ministers´ Meeting (gathering the Ministers of Tourism of the G20 economies) 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:”

 “Clear progress has been made in the area of visa facilitation in recent years, namely among the G20 economies” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai. “Many countries have opened up unilaterally and advanced visa facilitation policies. Yet despite these significant advances, there is still room for improvement particularly when it its proven that visa facilitation translates into more income and more jobs as the tourism sector grows”, he added.

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.

Helen Grant, UK Minister of Sports and Equalities, the host of the 5th T.20 Ministers Meeting said “We are very happy to announce that the UK is advancing in this area. An example is the recent announcement of changes aimed to streamline and simplify the visa application process for Chinese visitors.”

According to the updated UNWTO Tourism Visa Openness Report, between 2010 and 2013, the percentage of the population requiring a traditional to travel decreased from 77% in 2008 to 64% in 2013.

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 US$ 206 billion extra in exports (international tourism recepits).

Participating in the Meeting were: Argentina, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the European Commission, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the STEP Foundation, and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

Useful links:

Report: The Impact of Visa Facilitation on Job Creation in the G20 Economies

The Impact of Visa Facilitation in APEC Economies

Tourism Visa Openness Report

Visa facilitation can create 2.6 million new jobs in the APEC economies | World Tourism Organization UNWTO

WTTC logoA new report by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) shows that visa facilitation could create up to 2.6 million new jobs in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies by 2016. The report was presented on the occasion of the APEC High Level Policy Dialogue (Bali, Indonesia, 1 October 2013).

UNWTO logoThe report The Impact of Visa Facilitation in APEC Economies indicates that although there has been successful collaboration and advances across the APEC region to facilitate visas, including progressive approaches to implement new visa policies, 21% of expected international tourists arriving into APEC over the period 2014-2016 would still be required to obtain a traditional visa prior to travel under current visa policies.

Facilitating visas for these tourists could create as much as 2.6 million additional jobs in the APEC economies by 2016 and an additional US$ 89 billion in international tourism receipts generated by 57 million more tourists visiting APEC destinations.

Hosting the meeting, the Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy of the Republic of Indonesia, Mari Elka Pangestu, highlighted that the importance of tourism as a vehicle of job creation, economic growth and development in Asia Pacific has been acknowledged by APEC leaders through the launch, in 2011, of the APEC Travel Facilitation Initiative.

“The challenge now is to establish cooperation between officials working in tourism, finance, customs, immigration, security, transportation and airport authorities which are in different working groups. In 2013, through this High Level Policy Dialogue on Travel Facilitation held in Bali, for the fist time, there is an attempt of coordination across fora and we hope to end up with some action plans on visa and travel facilitation,” explained Minister Pangestu

via Visa facilitation can create 2.6 million new jobs in the APEC economies | World Tourism Organization UNWTO.

Mexico and Burkina Faso official hosts of World Tourism Day 2014 and 2015 | World Tourism Organization UNWTO

Mexico was selected to be the official host country for World Tourism Day (WTD) 2014 and Burkina Faso for WTD 2015. The respective themes will be

“Tourism and Community Development” for 2014, and “One billion tourists, one billion opportunities” for 2015

The announcement was made at the 20th UNWTO General Assembly (Victoria Falls, 29 August). Celebrated annually on 27 September, World Tourism Day is the biggest international event in tourism.  Its purpose is to foster awareness among the global community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value. The event seeks to address the global challenges outlined in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and highlight the tourism sector´s contribution to achieving these goals.UNWTO logo

WTD 2013 will be held at the Maldives, centered on the theme “Tourism and Water: Protecting our Common Future”, highlighting the tourism sector´s leadership role and contribution in facing the global water challenge.

via Mexico and Burkina Faso official hosts of World Tourism Day 2014 and 2015 | World Tourism Organization UNWTO.