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Visa reforms could lead to 2.6 million new jobs, UN agency reports

UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.
UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.

Visa reforms could lead to 2.6 million new jobs, UN agency reports

Visa facilitation could create up to 2.6 million jobs in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies by 2016, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

In ‘The Impact of Visa Facilitation in APEC Economies’, co-produced by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), research indicates that while visa policies of APEC countries require an average of 63 per cent of the world population to obtain a visa, out of the 355 million tourists travelling to APEC destinations in 2013, an estimated 20 per cent needs to obtain a visa.

That figure is expected to rise to 21 per cent during the 2014-2016 time frame. According to the report, APEC stands to gain between 38 and 57 million additional international tourist arrivals by 2016 from visa facilitation.

The inflow of additional international tourism receipts generated by these additional arrivals could reach between $62 and $89 billion, an increase of 9-14 per cent.

Moreover, the total number of jobs created as a consequence of this increase is estimated to range from 1.8 to 2.6 million, according to the figures in the report.

“At a time when many world leaders are looking for solutions to address a fragile economic situation and widespread unemployment, travel and tourism offers concrete measures,” UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, said in the foreword to the report.

Presenting the report today to the APEC high-level policy dialogue on travel facilitation in Bali, Indonesia, Mr. Rifai noted that prioritizing visa facilitation “can translate into significant socio-economic benefits in terms of income and jobs generated by the growth of tourism demand.”

In January, the UNWTO released a report underscoring the necessity of less stringent visa requirements around the world, as well as the facility of an electronic visa system.