Monday March 04, 2024

WTTC CEO calls for easing visa procedures amid recovery of Int´l tourism

Published : 06 Nov 2023, 00:16

  DF News Desk
File Photo: Xinhua.

Julia Simpson, the chief executive officer (CEO) of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), said the sector's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic was well underway while urging governments to further ease visa application procedures, reported Xinhua.

Governments should work to ease visa restrictions and accelerate the process of visa applications in a bid to further support international tourism, suggested Simpson, who is also the council's president, on the sidelines of the 23rd WTTC Global Summit which took place in Rwanda's capital Kigali from Nov. 1-3.

Latest data from WTTC and its partner Oxford Economics show that global travel is surging back, with all regions recovering faster than previously expected and especially Asia-Pacific leading the way.

"I'm really pleased to say that in 2023 we're going to be back to 2019 levels, some regions are already exceeding 2019 numbers. Travel and tourism is growing more than double the rate of global GDP. It's a growth sector," Simpson said.

Under the theme "Building Bridges to a Sustainable Future" and co-hosted by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), this year's WTTC event brought together thousands of industry leaders and experts and key government representatives in a bid to support the sector's growth and move to a safer, more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable future.

Simpson also emphasized that the key to the future of tourism lies in "regenerative tourism," which aims at promoting a more sustainable way of traveling and making sure the cultural heritage, local traditions and environment are conserved from one generation to the next.

The WTTC, founded in 1990, is a global authority on the economic and social contribution of travel and tourism. As a nonprofit organization based in London, its members include more than 200 CEOs, chairpersons, and presidents of the world's leading private-sector travel and tourism businesses.

The WTTC also announced Friday that its 2024 global summit will be held in Perth, the capital and largest city of Western Australia.