According to the WTTC, the Travel and Tourism sector generates more than 292 million jobs (1 in 10) and contributes almost USD 7.9 trillion (10.2%) to global GDP. It is clearly in the vested interests of all to do what it takes to ensure that nothing is done to clip the wings of a sector that makes communities take off.
With the formidable growths of both passenger numbers (IATA forecasts that the number will double to 7.8 billion in 2036) and security threats, we must also ensure that everything is done to develop a strategic and holistic roadmap to promote its safe, secure, sustainable and seamless growth.
Instead of seeking to balance security and facilitation, which suggests compromising one or even both, we should focus on improving BOTH, so that passengers have a secure and pleasant experience through a robust, risk-based, efficient and cost-effective global process.
The necessary move from bilateral programmes to a global one, which is wholly automated and built on verified biometric data requires that a number of sensitive areas be addressed, including the harmonisation of intelligence and data sharing, the shift to a secure digital process and a single application system. These vital policy shifts require effective collaboration and cooperation among various government agencies, international organisations, the Travel and Tourism sector and consumers. Governments also need to fully comply with ICAO Standards and assist those needing help to be able to do so.
Working effectively together to promote and protect travel and tourism is in the best interests of all, because the security chain can never be stronger than its weakest link.