A report by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) shows that the visa facilitation for tourists across APEC Economies Members could create an estimated 2.6 million new jobs by 2016. In addition, the potential receipt could amount to US$89 million from around 57 million Asia Pacific tourists that grew 6% in 2012.
The statement was made by the Indonesian Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Mari Elka Pangestu during a press conference in Bali Nusa Dua Convention Centre 2 (BNDCC 2) on Friday, (4/10). To accomplish this, the challenge is not to establish across-fora cooperation from the fields of tourism, finance, customs, immigration, security, transportation, airport authority, and so forth, said Marie. “The important role of tourism for economic growth and development of the Asia-Pacific has been recognized by the APEC Economic Leaders, as well as by the launch of the APEC Travel Facilitation Initiative in 2011. This time at the meeting, we are expecting to generate some plans of action in respect to visa and travel facilitation”, explained Marie.
At the same occasion, the Secretary General of UNWTO, Taleb Rifai, urged the APEC leaders to recognize the opportunities visa facilitation can bring. Various socio-economic benefits can be gleaned from it, both in terms of income and job creation from the growth of tourism.
“APEC has become a leading organization for the integration of the region and we believe that visa facilitation can provide a significant contribution to achievement of APEC’s goals and the balance of economic growth across the region,” said Marie.
Meanwhile, the President and CEO of WTTC, David Scowsill, in his release stated that there are several areas to develop to enhance the growth of the tourism industry in the Asia-Pacific region. They are: the utilization of information and communication technology in visa procedures, transfer of information, a shorter visa acquisition process, differential treatment to facilitate travel, eVisa programs, and various agreements for visa facilitation.