KUALA LUMPUR (June 5): The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged governments to intensify efforts to spread the economic and social benefits of aviation by removing onerous barriers to the free movement of people across borders.
In a statement yesterday, IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said over the next 20 years, the number of passengers will double.
“That’s excellent news for the global economy, as air connectivity is a catalyst for job creation and GDP growth.
“But we will not get the maximum social and economic benefits from this growth if barriers to travel are not addressed and processes streamlined," he said.
The IATA said there are many barriers to travel, ranging from visa restrictions and government information requirements to the capacity of current facilitation processes to absorb growing numbers of air travelers.
IATA said it has evolved a comprehensive Open Borders Strategy to help governments work with industry to maintain the integrity of national borders while removing inefficiencies that prevent the industry from satisfying travel demand.
IATA said research by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) on the impact of visa facilitation indicates that US$89 billion in tourism receipts and 2.6 million jobs would be created in the Asia-Pacific region alone with the reduction of barriers to travel.
The IATA Open Borders Strategy has four main components, name, reviewing visa requirements and removing unnecessary travel restrictions; including travel facilitation as part of bilateral and regional trade negotiations; linking registered-traveler programs; and using Advance Passenger Information data more effectively and efficiently.