The travel and tourism industry has played a critical role in generating worldwide employment opportunities and spurring economic growth, accounting for 9.5% of global GDP and creating more than 266 million jobs, directly and indirectly. As the world becomes more connected and citizen-centric, the right legislative frameworks, innovative financing and partnership models are crucial to facilitate travel – but we must also contend with greater challenges and evolving threats to the industry and its growth.
In effect, the risks we are most concerned with today are linked to geopolitics, terrorism and the spread of pandemics, as well as data sharing and security. These global shifts could have significant repercussions on the travel and tourism industry, whose growth and survival is dependent on the delivery of a safe travel experience. Over the past year, geopolitical tensions and security issues have made news headlines; the impact on afflicted tourist destinations has been the same: a significant decrease in the number of tourists and significant losses in revenue.
The Global Agenda Council on Travel & Tourism is committed to addressing these security concerns, while continuing the advancement of travel facilitation and sustainability measures in the industry. During its first term, the council published a paper titled “Smart Travel: Unlocking Economic Growth and Development through Travel Facilitation”. It also signed letters of intent for regional visa agreements in Latin America and South-East Asia, and developed a call for action on travel facilitation and talent mobility, signed by African heads of state.
Acknowledging the current geopolitical tensions, terrorism threats and risk of pandemics – as well as demands from today’s consumer – the council will take forward its work on smart travel and consider what technological advances, innovations and infrastructure are needed at the local, national, regional and global levels to facilitate travel while improving security.
The council is also looking at sustainable tourism, recognizing global trends and the industry’s responsibility to function in a responsible, environmentally conscious manner. Work is underway to examine and assess current industry sustainability measurements, set targets and achieve clear commitments from major hospitality and airline companies.
Council Manager: Tiffany Misrahi, Community Lead, Aviation, Travel & Tourism, Tiffany.Misrahi@weforum.org
Forum Lead: John Moavenzadeh, Head, Mobility Industries, John.Moavenzadeh@weforum.org
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