Travel & tourism’s ‘one voice’ gets louder

THE Global Travel Association Coalition (GTAC), which has emerged as the industry’s champion on matters that impede its growth, promises to power the industry into the next decade with a fresh agenda.

The coalition was formed three years ago with the aim of giving travel and tourism ‘one voice’, enabling the industry to convincingly press its case with clear, consistent arguments based on similar data.

GTAC today comprises founding members WTTC, UNWTO and IATA, along with PATA, the World Economic Forum, Cruise Lines International Association, Airports Council International and ICAO.

On the agenda are four broad areas: travel facilitation, infrastructure development, environmental sustainability and human capital.

Among the advocacy and action to be done are: press for transparent visa processes, visa waiver programmes, regional visa agreements, trusted traveller programmes and seamless travel procedures at borders; lobby for air, rail, sea and road connectivity through properly designed regulatory frameworks; foster inter-agency coordination to protect the environment and increase benefits for host communities; position travel and tourism as a viable career option.

GTAC’s lobby on visa facilitation has contributed to a decrease in the percentage of the world’s population requiring a traditional visa prior to arrival, from 77 per cent in 2008 to 62 per cent last year, said WTTC president & CEO David Scowsill.

UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai, said the coalition is an alignment of both the public and private sector (i.e. not a ‘me against you’) towards the common goal of harnessing travel & tourism’s power to create jobs and contribute to GDP.

“It is a natural progression that we continue to work together, speak in one voice and launch this agenda for the growth and development of the industry,” he said.

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