Reports
Published: 25 June 2014

Smart Travel: Unlocking Economic Growth and Development through Travel Facilitation

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The 21st-century traveller has high expectations when it comes to efficiency and a low tolerance for barriers to global mobility. Unfortunately, travel infrastructure and bureaucracy are decidedly 20th century, something that is particularly noticeable at airports and in the visa application process. Indeed, in 2013, destinations worldwide required on average two-thirds of the world’s population to obtain a visa prior to departure. A “smart travel” model, one that includes smart visas, smart borders, smart security processes and smart infrastructure, could revolutionize the travel and tourism sector the way the smartphone has transformed the telecommunications and media industries. As such, it represents one of the most effective near-term measures available to policy-makers seeking to create jobs and boost growth.

The 21st-century traveller has high expectations when it comes to efficiency and a low tolerance for barriers to global mobility. Unfortunately, travel infrastructure and bureaucracy are decidedly 20th century, something that is particularly noticeable at airports and in the visa application process. Indeed, in 2013, destinations worldwide required on average two-thirds of the world’s population to obtain a visa prior to departure. A “smart travel” model, one that includes smart visas, smart borders, smart security processes and smart infrastructure, could revolutionize the travel and tourism sector the way the smartphone has transformed the telecommunications and media industries. As such, it represents one of the most effective near-term measures available to policy-makers seeking to create jobs and boost growth.

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