Recent report titled ‘The Impact of Visa Facilitation in APEC Economies’ by various United Nations agencies suggests that visa facilitation could create up to 2.6 million jobs among the APEC economies by 2016.
The report, authored by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), indicated that visa policies of these countries require up to 63% of the world population to obtain visa. It further stated that, out of the 355 million tourists travelling to APEC destinations in 2013, an estimated 20% require a visa. That figure is expected to rise to 21% during the 2014-2016 time frame.
How will reforming visa regulations help?
The report suggest that 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%. This in turn will impact the total number of jobs created, which is estimated to range from 1.8 to 2.6 million. “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.
Tourism in India
Tourism provides 6-7% of the world’s total jobs directly and millions more indirectly through the multiplier effect. The Economic Survey 2011-12 recognises its capacity to create jobs in India. Despite the economic slowdown, the Foreign Tourist Arrivals in the country during 2011 were 6.29 million, a growth of 8.9% in comparison to 2010.