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Published on : Tuesday, November 12, 2013
The 5th T.20 Ministers´ Meeting (gathering of the Ministers of Tourism from the G20 economies) deliberated 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”. The group 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.”
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.”
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 receipts).