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Global push to lighten visa regulations

At the London gathering of the G20 countries' ministers of tourism, referred to as the "T20", the President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) David Scowsill called for a paradigm shift in border regulations. He argued that there needed to be a "customer-service ethic" introduced into visa and border processes in order to more fully unleash the sector's economic potential.Scowsill noted that there has already been a significant wave of improvement in visa regulation since the G20 Los Cabos, pointing specifically to Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Egypt, India, Mexico, Oman, Peru, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, the UK, and the USA, among others. However, he still urges G20 countries to build on this momentum and identify opportunities in their policies.This movement towards visa deregulation is largely based on two major recent pieces of research by WTTC and UNTWO. Research published at last year's T20 in Mexico showed that five million additional jobs could be gained from improved visa processes in G20 countries. In a similar vein, research for the APEC High Level Meeting in Indonesia showed that there is a potential international tourism arrival gain of up to 57 million tourists by 2016, generating up to $89 billion in tourist spending and 1.4 million additional jobs.To achieve these benefits, Scowsill encourages the industry to "invest in smart systems which can enhance security and improve customer service", in a "win-win" balance between national security and tourism promotion. "Travelers who wish to visit a country for a short amount of time, helping to sustain jobs and economic growth, should be encouraged and welcomed", he ascertains.

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