Saturday, 24 September 2011

World Tourism Head Urges Travel Barriers to be Removed

David Scowsill
David Scowsill, CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has called on governments to make travel easier. He recently said that governments must speed up the introduction of visa waiver and trusted traveller programmes.

He said the “aggravation factor” for travellers has increased too much since the terrorist attack on the USA on 9/11. “The enhanced security processes put in place post 9/11 were entirely appropriate as a short-term response to a very dramatic situation,” said Scowsill. “Over the last ten years, however, the barriers to travel have become even greater, rather than diminishing through better use of technology and passenger profiling.”

Scowsill said processing times for visas to visit many countries can be hundreds of days, and airport security has become an “unpleasant experience”. He called for a “fundamental change” in the minds of governments, who should be promoting travel as a driver of economic growth.

In particular, countries should look at smarter visa and border security policies, said Scowsill, including visa waiver and trusted traveller schemes. “Tourism accounts for 258 million jobs and 9% of the world’s GDP - it is a driver of global economic recovery,” he added. “It is vital that countries take the necessary steps to protect their borders; but equally important that governments recognise that smarter policies exist to achieve that aim.”

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