Following the EU's announcement of the proposed changes to the Schengen Visa Code, David Scowsill, President and CEO of The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) says:
'The World Travel & Tourism Council welcomes the EU visa package announcement by the European Commission yesterday. It will simplify and speed up the processing of visas in Europe and ensure more foreign visitors, increased tourism receipts and more jobs at a vital time for the European economy. But the work is not done. We now strongly encourage MEPS to vote through these proposed changes.
As part of the announcement, Vice-President of the European Commission, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship, Antonia Tajani, stated that "Tourism is Europe´s growth engine and has been the most important stronghold of the European economy during the recent crisis".' It is rewarding to hear one of Europe's top Commissioners publicly recognising the leading role played by the Travel & Tourism sector in driving the European economy. WTTC speaks on behalf of the sector, with one voice to Governments, encouraging them to appreciate the economic and social importance of the Industry. WTTC and its members work vigorously for visa reform.
WTTC urges Governments to continue to look for ways in which they can adopt smarter visa and border security policies to bolster Travel & Tourism as a driver of jobs and economic growth. We will continue to push for a fundamental change in the minds of Governments - balancing security needs with freedom to travel by moving away from the current approaches to a faster implementation of visa waiver and trusted traveller programmes".Brazil encouraged to reform its visa policies to boost tourism
Brazil's Travel & Tourism sector will enjoy a significant boost during the FIFA 2014 World Cup year. That is according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which has unveiled its Economic Impact 2014 report for Brazil.
WTTC is the global authority on the economic and social impact of the Travel & Tourism Industry. The Economic Impact Report 2014 for Brazil shows that Travel & Tourism grew its total contribution to the Brazilian economy by 3.4% in 2013 and is predicted to grow its contribution by a further 5.2% during this World Cup year and outperform the Brazilian economy by 3.6%.
Domestic tourism makes up 95% of the sector's contribution to the Brazilian economy. David Scowsill, President and CEO of WTTC, says the World Cup is expected to bring a net positive result; "Brazilians tend to holiday at home and so are not expected to travel abroad in big numbers to avoid any disruption from the event. International visitors coming for the World Cup will help to open up the country to a new global audience".
Brazil has recently made moves towards eliminating visas for short haul trips for Mexican nationals with passports. Mr Scowsill says measures like this will boost tourism further but he is encouraging the Brazilian Government to be even more ambitious; "Brazil is recognising the positive benefits which Travel & Tourism can bring in terms of wealth creation to the country. Eliminating visas encourages more people to visit, increases tourism receipts and stimulates jobs. We would recommend that Brazil expands further its visa free approach across the region, alongside bringing in electronic visas to make it simpler and quicker to enter from other countries.
Mr Scowsill is also recommending that the country improves its airport infrastructure; "Infrastructure improvements have been made for the World Cup but need to be built upon. Growth will be significantly inhibited unless there is an improvement in airport infrastructure. Brazil has too few airports. Additionally, the Government must intervene over the country's extraordinarily high taxation on aviation fuel".
In 2013 Travel & Tourism contributed BRL443.7 billion to the economy of Brazil and generated 8.5 million jobs.
The WTTC research also highlights the size of Travel & Tourism around the world:
- In 2013, Travel & Tourism contributed US$7 trillion to the global economy. The total global contribution of Travel & Tourism to employment was 266 million jobs (9% of total employment) – one in 11 of all jobs on the planet
- In 2014, the industry globally is expected to grow by 4.3%
Mr Scowsill says 2013 proved another successful year for the sector; "Travel & Tourism's contribution to the world economy grew for the fourth consecutive year in 2013, helped especially by strong demand from international travellers. Visitor exports, the measure of money spent by these international tourists, rose by 3.9% at a global level to US$1.3 trillion. It is clear that the growth in Travel & Tourism demand from emerging markets continues with pace, as the burgeoning middle-classes, especially from Asia and Latin America, are willing and more able than ever to travel both within and beyond their borders".
However, Mr Scowsill reminds Governments that they need to take action; "Travel & Tourism forecasts over the next ten years also look extremely favourable, with predicted growth rates of over 4% annually that continue to be higher than growth rates in other industries. Capitalising on the opportunities for this Travel & Tourism growth will, of course, require destinations and regional authorities, particularly those in emerging markets, to create favourable business climates for investment in the infrastructure to facilitate a sustainable tourism industry. At the national level, governments can also do much to implement more open visa regimes and to employ intelligent rather than punitive taxation policies. If the right steps are taken, Travel & Tourism can be a true force for good".