UNWTO chief calls for increased visa facilitation and liberalisation of air transport

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The top UN tourism official has highlighted the interdependent relationship between air transport and tourism.

UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai in an address titled Tourism and Aviation: Building Common Policies for Sustainable Growth reiterated the need to position both sectors collectively to help stimulate the growth of the overall economy and create opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship.

Addressing the Royal Aeronautical Society at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) headquarters in Montreal, Secretary-General Taleb Rifai called for increased visa facilitation and the liberalization of air transport.

He said "If we are to achieve the forecast rise in international tourist arrivals from 1 billion in 2012 to 1.8 billion in 2030, with all the concomitant economic and social benefits, we must work as one," adding, "Increased coordination among airlines, tourism destinations and airport authorities at national level, and the joint work of UNWTO and ICAO at the global level, will help position travel and tourism as a strategic sector with air transport at its core".

Mr. Rifai emphasized market liberalization as a key factor for the development of civil aviation and tourism, citing World Trade Organization (WTO) estimates which show that replacing the most restrictive bilateral air agreements by most liberal ones may increase traffic by over 75%.

Other key issues addressed were tourist/consumer protection, intelligent taxation, and the fight against climate change, issues which he maintained were areas of common concern for both the tourism and aviation sectors to achieve a significant impact in promoting sustainable growth and development.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’42″

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