Today the tourism industry contributes more than 9% to the world’s GDP and one out of every 11 jobs, and it is growing faster than other segments of the global economy.
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 have not developed much since the 20th century, something that is particularly noticeable in queues at airports and in the visa application process.
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. Major reform could represents one of the most effective measures available to policy-makers seeking to create jobs and boost global growth.
The World Economic Forum have published a white paper titled Smart Travel: Unlocking Economic Growth and Development through Travel Facilitation which looks at these issues. The document present how a “smart travel” model could quickly fire up growth and job creation in the global tourism industry.