Visa facilitation has experienced strong
progress in recent years, particularly through the implementation
of visa on arrival policies.
According to the UNWTO’s latest Visa Openness
Report, 62% of the world’s population required a traditional visa
prior to departure in 2014, down from 77% in 2008. In the same
year, 19% of the world’s population was able to enter a
destination without a visa, while 16% could receive a visa on
arrival, as compared to 17% and 6% in 2008.
The report also shows that the most prevalent
facilitation measure implemented has been “visa on arrival”. Over
half of all improvements made in the last four years were from
“visa required” to “visa on arrival”.
“Visa facilitation is central to stimulating
economic growth and job creation through tourism. Although there
is much room for improvement, we are pleased to see that a growing
number of governments around the world is taking decisive steps in
this regard,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.
Countries in the Americas and in Asia
Pacific have been at the forefront of visa facilitation, while
Europe and Middle East have more restrictive visa policies.
Overall, emerging economies tend to be more open than advanced
ones, with South-East Asia, East Africa, the Caribbean and Oceania
among the most open subregions.
“UNWTO forecasts international tourist arrivals
to reach 1.8 billion by 2030, and easier visa procedures will be
crucial to attract these travellers, especially tourists from
emerging source markets like China, Russia, India and Brazil,” Mr Rifai
Research by UNWTO and the World Travel and
Tourism Council (WTTC) shows that the G20 economies could boost
their international tourist numbers by an additional 122 million,
generate an extra US$ 206 billion in tourism exports and create
over five million additional jobs by improving visa processes and
entry formalities. The same research carried out for the APEC and
the ASEAN countries indicates that visa facilitation could
generate important gains for both groups, including the creation
of 2.6 million jobs in APEC and 650.000 jobs in ASEAN.
See other recent news regarding: