A 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).
The 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